When President Flynn informed me of his decision to retire, we spent many hours developing a plan to ensure that the transition would be seamless and the Union’s resources would remain focused on our number one go al—putting BAC members to work. Although he will be missed, your new team hit the ground running at the recent meetings of the Executive Council and Labor-Management Craft Committees.
At these meetings, several new initiatives were announced to expand work opportunities and help out-of-work members, including:
The new BAC Sav-Rx Advantage Plan, which is being provided to members free of charge to help cover the cost of prescription drugs for those who may have lost coverage through their Local plan, as well as to help with prescriptions that may not be covered by a member’s existing plan. Every member who is not eligible for Medicare Part D is being sent a personalized card in the mail.
A decision by the Trustees of the International Health Fund (IHF) to temporarily reduce the eligibility requirements for participants to 200 hours worked in a calendar quarter, 500 hours worked in two calendar quarters, and 1200 hours worked in 12 consecutive months, so that participating members have to work fewer hours to stay eligible for health benefits. Based on a preliminary calculation, this will increase the number of IHF participants eligible for health benefits by roughly 20 percent.
Since the meetings, we have stepped up efforts to promote work performed by BAC members with government entities. On March 9th, for example, I testified before the Maryland State House in support of legislation that has the potential to create a significant number of restoration jobs for our members. The entire Executive Board is available to lend our support for similar job-creating initiatives in all markets.
These are just a sample of the efforts underway. There are more in the works. At a time, however, when the unemployment rate for all construction workers—union and non-union combined—is running more than 25 percent, your support for job creating initiatives is critical. How can you help? First, by taking advantage of BAC/IMI training programs to upgrade skills and learn new ones related to the installation of new products and systems. Up-to-date knowledge, skills and certifications will increase your marketability and access to work as the market turns around. Another way you can help is by alerting your Local officers of potential work that could be organized, that IMI could convert from a competing product to one of ours, or that BAC contractors could pursue. Speaking from my own experience as a Local Officer, many of the best leads originate with our members.
There is no denying that John J. Flynn is a tough act to follow, but with your continued support we can help our Brothers and Sisters stay afloat during periods of unemployment and increase work opportunities for all members.
I am honored to succeed John as President, and promise to use every means available to meet our Union’s goal to put members back to work.
We encourage you to share a special story about a job you worked on or what being a BAC member means to you or to your family. Be sure to include a photograph. Please send by mail or email to:
620 F Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20004