Our Work Continues by Jeff Sullivan
Across all departments, your District Council works every day to increase work opportunities for our sister and brother members. Our Servicing, Organizing and Government Affairs Departments devise and coordinate strategies in all facets of our industries to create our most cherished commodity – work hours. The backbone of our operation is the Business Representatives who are entrusted with enforcing our Collective Bargaining Agreement, coordinating with our signatory contractors and seeking an increased market for our tradesmen and women. Leading a labor organization in the 21st century requires strategic thinking and having the ability to seek new ways to do business. My job is to serve the membership and to make their families lives better. Unions have literally created this nation’s middle class and I am proud to be a part of it. Make no mistake about it though, the job requires hard work and persistence.
Not all labor organizations are the same; in fact, some don’t seem to understand their obligations to serve their membership. While other unions are making decisions to decrease retirement and health benefits your District Council has been on a steady course of continually making improvements to all areas of union life. This isn’t something that happens overnight. It requires taking a long view and making prudent decisions at every opportunity to ensure long-term success. This has been our mission during my time as the leader of this great organization. With full knowledge that there is much beyond our control; the economy, decisions made by elected leaders and the actions of the anti-union constituency, makes it even more critical to make good decisions regarding the things we do have control over.
This means properly funding the various benefits funds that provide us all health benefits and a plan for retirement. It also means working cooperatively with our partner signatory contractors when we can and to push back when we need to. Our labor-management partnership is vital, and we must do all that we can to ensure more work opportunities for our signatories, especially outside of Boston. We also are keenly aware of the fact that if our contractors are successful then we will be successful. Just as importantly, I spend much of my time making sure that our contractors understand that their success depends on us. Providing the best trained, safest workforce is our stock-in-trade. Without it we would be out of business.
We keep a constant eye on the ever-changing landscape of public policy and legislation because alterations can literally change the rules of the game. We always inject ourselves into the dialogue. It would be foolish to think that someone else can advocate our position more persuasively or forcefully than we do. We are amid several public debates right now, from potential changes to the laws governing multi-employer pension plans on the federal level to a host of state legislative issues across New England. District Council 35 is at the forefront of each of these important discussions, always with the singular goal of creating better lives for our member families. You’ll read more about these legislative issues in this edition of the Newsletter.
I am proud to say that our District Council is a leader in New England. We are thought leaders and are second to none when it comes to taking action. The staff here fans out across our jurisdiction every day, and most nights, bringing about the positive change we so desperately need and deserve. None of this happens by accident; it requires a dogged pursuit of our agenda and a persistent attitude.
Vince Lombardi, the second greatest football coach in history, is credited with saying, “The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.” The sentiment is absolutely true. In the pages that follow, you’ll read about all the work we are doing. Please take the time to familiarize yourself with everything going on at your District Council. We are here for you.