In Newsletter: Winter '22

We have had an incredible run the last 13 years with Business Manager/Secretary-Treasurer Sullivan and our team. Incredible things have been accomplished for our members under the direction of BMST Sullivan. Our team has made undeniable industry-leading improvements to our pension, annuity, and health and welfare plans. BMST Sullivan and Director of Apprenticeship Redding have put the right people in the training department to take our training programs to the top of the mountain. All these things are undeniable and we, as members, see these results on a daily and yearly basis.

BMST Sullivan just recently retired and is excited for the next chapter in his journey of life but even more excited for the direction of our GREAT District Council 35. Newly elected Business Manager Christian Brennan has big shoes to fill, but our entire team is going to work in lock step to continue the success of the last 13 years. BMST Brennan has shifted some responsibilities onto our team with high hopes that we will expand our benefit packages, work opportunities, and, most importantly, our membership.

We have been meeting tirelessly to get our game plan in place for the new year. We will be rolling out our plan to our fellow team members over the next several weeks and will hit the ground running come 2023. A few items that we have planned are expanding our current steward program. COVID-19 knocked the train slightly off the track, but we are fully committed to protecting our jurisdiction across all trades. We anticipate a January steward training course, and moving forward, we will plan to conduct these quarterly to keep the demand high, as well as set up quarterly steward meetings for current Stewards to discuss on-the-job issues that arise. Our Business Representatives will be in contact regularly with our Stewards, but it will be great to discuss those issues with the rest of the active Stewards so they are aware of things to watch out for.

We are also planning our strategy to create more work opportunities and membership opportunities in New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont. Work opportunities have vastly improved in Portland, Maine. We will be taking the same playbook across the other neighboring states. We must utilize the local workforce and contractors in those areas instead of relying on our current contractors and members to travel hundreds of miles away from our home base. We need to build out a home base in each state to strategically start to pick up more opportunities and members.

We are also putting together a plan to better communicate with you, the membership, via live town halls. Benefit and contract questions are endless. If our members better understand our contract and benefits, we will be a stronger workforce on job sites and in negotiating rooms. We understand that not everyone can make it to union meetings, which are strongly encouraged, but we are working to communicate better on a daily, monthly, and yearly basis. We are strategizing new ideas every day and will roll out a plan for 2023.

I have had the honor of a lifetime to be able to learn from some of the best in this business. BMST Sullivan will always hold a special place in my heart for his endless dedication to our membership and their families. He has always treated each person as a brother and sister while always keeping his eye on the ball to improve the daily well-being of our members. BMST Sullivan’s relentlessness to make our council better than when he took over is evident by the body of work we call a contract and benefits package.

Business Representative/Organizer Tony Hernandez has also recently retired. Tony has been a pivotal and key player in building up our industrial paint program and membership. No one will ever out-work this guy. He was the one who wrote the book on how to dominate a market. DC 35 currently has a 99.9% market on bridges and tanks in Massachusetts, all thanks to Tony Hernandez and his tireless work all times of day. He could be found at 3am chasing open shop bridge painters through the woods dumping lead in a state forest (yeah, that happened) and then on a bridge getting his guys and gals situated 150 miles away at 7am.

Jeff and Tony, I wish you all the best in retirement and thank you for your leadership, mentorship, and, most importantly, friendship. The two of you have set the bar extremely high and the confidence the two of you have in our team means the world to us. Our team will build upon the great things we have accomplished through your leadership and keep pushing forward. Both of you have always said repeatedly, we do this for the members and their families. We can’t let them down; they depend on us to help improve their lives. We will not let our members down. Forever grateful for the both of you!

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