In May, I had a chance to talk with Local 74 Illinois bricklayers on a hospital jobsite in Elmhurst, IL, including Brother John Perz. When asked what it meant to be a BAC member, Brother Perz replied, “I’m proud to be a Union member… It means you’ve got to stick together.”
His comment brought to mind the upcoming 2010 IU Convention, which will be held September 13-17, and especially the Convention theme—“Skill • Pride • Unified.” Both these few, well-chosen words and Brother Perz’ statement not only capture the heart and soul of our Union since its founding in 1865, but speak directly to our capacity to weather the challenges of recent months, namely, a battered construction economy and fewer jobs.
On behalf of the IU Executive Board, we thank each and every member for staying true to our Union, for making sacrifices when necessary and for maintaining your membership. At the same time, as your relatively new leadership team, we have rededicated ourselves to working with Local/ADC leaders and signatory contractors to seize every opportunity to generate work for BAC members and to preserve and protect your hard-earned benefits.
This Journal highlights some of these efforts as well as BAC “Skill • Pride • Unified” in action: IMI training that keeps members working, like scaffold safety classes in New York City or upgrade training and certifications for Local 4 Indiana/Kentucky members (Pages 4-5); an IPF investment that produces BAC work-hours on an all-union project and long-term returns for the Fund (Page 3); and actions that address member’s health care concerns such as relaxed eligibility rules for International Health Fund participants and a new prescription drug savings program for all members not covered by Medicare (Page 19). In related healthcare developments, as regulations for implementing and enforcing the new health care law are decided at the federal level, the IU is actively working with the AFL-CIO and the agencies responsible to ensure that the final regulations issued are in the best interests of BAC members, our local and International funds and signatory employers. [For updates on this fast-moving process, visit www.bacweb.org and select “Legislative & Political”, then “Health Care Reform”.]
Nowhere, however, is “Skill • Pride • Unified” more compellingly represented than by the BAC Craft Awards winners on Pages 6-18. We congratulate all of our members, Locals and contractors that contributed to a winning project or received an individual award.
As the oldest continuous trade union in North America, the fundamentals of “Skill • Pride • Unified” and the tenacity of BAC members themselves have seen our Union through many downturns and I am confident that while it won’t be easy, we’ll make it through this one as long as we, in Brother Perz’ words, “stick together.”
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