Tackling the Tough Issues by Chris Brennan
DC 35 continues to be a leader among the Building Trades when it comes to issues affecting our members. No industry has been more affected by the opioid epidemic than the construction industry. Our members are 4x more likely to become addicted to opioids than in any other industry, and we are the second most affected industry when it comes to suicide, according to the Department of Public Health. Our efforts to combat these issues as a council continue full speed ahead!
Our recovery group, which meets every Wednesday night at 7:00, continues to grow with a very active membership. We’ve trained six members at the Labor Assistance Professionals School who will be able to act as peer advocates in the field, and this number will grow. We have also started to teach substance use awareness and suicide prevention to all of our apprentice classes. We are the first District Council in the IUPAT to teach this class.
As highlighted in my previous newsletter, Lowell was ground zero this year for DC 35 and the Merrimack Valley Building Trades. After reversing on their commitment to a PLA on the new Lowell High School project, we sought out and backed strong candidates that we felt best represented our members. I’m very happy to report that five of our endorsed candidates won a seat on the nine-member council! Four of the top six vote-getters were our endorsed candidates.
In another great victory for working families on the North Shore, Saugus voted out all of the school committee members who had voted to privatize the school custodians and three of the sitting selectmen who sat on the sidelines and said nothing as homeowners in their town were told they no longer had a job for no good reason! Kudos to the voters for not sitting on the sidelines themselves. It has been a long and grueling campaign season and I want to thank all the members who came out to give us a hand. Thank you!