The Road Ahead by Paul Canning

 In News, Newsletter: Fall '19

Looking back at this year’s General Convention — the issues, initiatives, and the strategy — it would be an understatement to say that it can be a challenge to digest such an overload of information. Imagine reaching out to 90,000 members for feedback over the course of three days. From mobilizing over 17,000 members, to calling out this administration’s short-sighted IRAP attack on our apprenticeships, to engaging with new candidates, it was exciting to see the action our leadership and our rank-and-file members have taken over just a few short months.

That being said, I’m excited to move the needle over to the next year and beyond for our cause and I’m optimistic that our members are ready to fight. But to do that, we must ensure that each and every one of you has the facts on the issues that affect us all.

Starting this month, we are working with the International to roll out a series of strategic educational campaigns across the entire US and Canada. It is impossible to move a 110,000-member-strong organization without knowing what affects us as workers and the factors that impact our industry.

We will be hitting jobsites, local union meetings and community events with information designed to re-engage and foster face-to-face conversations on issues ranging from current changes in labor law, how we offer leverage in the market to what builds your pension, and the current attacks on multi-employer pension plans.

The first piece to tackle is activism. Without a solid foundation of educated members willing to stand up for the oath they took upon initiation, we are a house of cards whose survival is subject to the slightest breeze. Communication is key and we have new digital tools to keep members up to date on building power in our marketplace.

For generations, our union has been the best path for a decent living for working people like you and me. But our unions are under attack, and those attacks are coming not just from the White House and Capitol Hill but also from the Supreme Court. They want nothing more than to silence us from fighting for our families and communities. This is our choice: build an engaged, active union that can take on today’s challenges or allow political attacks to make it harder for our members and working people to get ahead.

We know that an engaged, active workforce doesn’t just make our members feel good—it directly leads to more work opportunities, stronger worker protections, and political power for our members. It also guides our core mission: fighting to represent working people. At this juncture in our movement, it’s either count us in or count us out. I know our members are ready. Now it’s time to educate, communicate, and above all… activate!

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