NEW BEGINNINGS BY CHRISTIAN BRENNAN
As District Council 35 moves into a new year with many new opportunities, we have much to be thankful for in the past year. I would like to start with congratulating and thanking Jeff Sullivan on his retirement and for his leadership, dedication, and commitment to the members of DC 35 and their families. During Jeff’s 13-year term as Business Manager/Secretary-Treasurer, the membership has seen a multitude of improvements to our Health, Pension and Annuity benefits. This comes from the steadfast leadership of Jeff and the Labor Trustees. During Jeff’s time as BM/ST, the District Council has grown in numbers and laid the hard-fought groundwork in creating many job opportunities and continued opportunities for the membership. This hard work and dedication will continue into the future as the leadership team continues to build on this solid foundation.
I would also like to congratulate Tony Hernandez on his well-deserved retirement. Tony has been a strong advocate for the members of DC 35, especially our members in the industrial paint industry. During his time as Business Representative, he has helped to reshape the industry and the market share for the District Council and our members. Tony is leaving the council in a better place and has laid the groundwork for continued success and opportunity for all our members and their families. Thank you both for your years of service.
This past October, I was elected to the position of DC 35 Business Manager/Secretary-Treasurer. I am humbled and thankful for the opportunity to continue the momentum of the Council in the positive direction and path that has been laid for us. We are looking to the future with many new ways to grow our market share and create work opportunities for our members and future members.
Massachusetts has elected a champion of labor, Maura Healey, to the office of governor. Governor Healey has a proven track record of fighting for labor and the working class, as well as fighting and winning for those who have been affected by substance use disorder with the opioid epidemic. During Maura’s term as Attorney General, her office fought and continues to fight against wage theft in the construction industry, awarding tens of thousands of dollars in back wages to workers in our industries alone. These rulings against wage theft are crucial for balance within the market. When bad contractors steal wages from their workers, they are awarded projects at a lower cost on the backs of workers. When these unscrupulous contractors are held to the same laws, the playing field is equalized, giving our signatory contractors more opportunities on project awards. Thank you to everyone who spent time door knocking, phone banking, and attending visibility events to help elect labor-friendly candidates to offices in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine.
Moving into 2023, Suffolk Downs, which is under a Project Labor Agreement, has broken ground. Our members will start to work on this mega-project, which is slated to keep union members working for 10+ years. This is just one of many large union projects within our jurisdiction that our Serving Department has worked hard to secure.
Substance use and mental health support and awareness are another important priority to DC 35 and the IUPAT. DC 35 has been leading the charge in member support, awareness, and training, which are all ways that we will continue to support our fellow brothers and sisters and their families in hopes of keeping everyone safe on and off the job.
Organizing is the lifeblood of any union. DC 35’s Organizing Department has been running on all cylinders, organizing companies within our industry, creating bidding opportunities with general contractors our signatory contractors do not normally work with, expanding market share in areas that normally have low union contractor participation, and organizing workers to fill the needs of our signatory contractors–especially in our expanding wood frame residential market. These opportunities are made possible by consistent communication; constant involvement; and partner participation with community groups, other unions, political allies, city and state officials and departments, VoTech high schools, and other like-minded organizations. We will be continuing and expanding these relationships to create jobs and improve workers’ rights. I would like to wish you and your family a healthy, safe, prosperous New Year.