BCTD’s Ayers Tells Business Managers Non-Performing Union Members Must Go

Union World edition: 
Apr 2008
page: 
3

Mark H. Ayers
Mark H. Ayers

There is no place in our unions for nonperformers, the president of the Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO told business managers of the Operative Plasterers and Cement Masons during a recent speech.
Mark H. Ayers called non-performing union members a cancer that has “dragged us down for many years and damaged our reputation as highly trained and productive craft professionals,” during a Feb. 27 OPC-MIA meeting. He said, “they are the members that scream the loudest about union rights on the job, in your hiring halls and in your union meetings, while at the same time they chip away at our proud foundation.”
In short, he said, “they are simply bad for business, and therefore, they must go!” He reminded the business managers that in the current business environment anyone can find out anything about an organization with a few clicks of a mouse.
“We must understand that we are constantly being judged by what we do and how we conduct ourselves every single day we are on the job,” he said. “Over the last thirty years or so, we didn’t lose the lion’s share of the market because the competition was so good,” he said. ‘We lost it because our attitudes, our productivity, and our work ethic got worse and we took our jobs and our work for granted.”
Ayers commended business managers and union officers who, he said, were putting their political capital and jobs on the line to change the way their unions operate. In his ongoing campaign to help raise the performance bar for BCTD unions, Ayers said that he wanted to instill a unified commitment to excellence— a “value system in action.”

Still Trying to Unify the Building Trades

Ayers also discussed his oft-stated agenda to reunify with unions that have left the BCTD organization. The Laborers’ International Union (which recently reaffiliated) Carpenters and Joiners of America, and ­International Union of Operating Engineers ended their affiliation with the BCTD in 2006.
According to Ayers, the union construction industry achieves success when two factors are at work: 1. when there is peace and harmony among the trades; and 2. when unions make a concerted effort to provide superior customer service achieved through industry partnership.
He said the choice is clear. “Either we close ranks and address our economic fortunes together with our industry partners, or we remain apart and watch our fortunes wither away as conflict with the Carpenters and Operating Engineers escalates and ­opportunities shrink,” Ayers said.
He warned of the possible “evaporation of market share for the union construction industry, and the demise of a great labor institution and movement that has done so much for America and Canada and the middle class.”