That was the question I was asked by a 20 year old first year apprentice during his orientation. “As soon as you hit the lottery” was my response, but the reality is that he already hit the lottery. He’s a member of a union that will provide for him and his family for the rest of his life. He will learn a trade that will provide good wages and great medical and dental coverage, deferred compensation in a 401k and an annuity, the IO pension, the NEBF and local pensions plus social security. And retiree medical coverage, supplemental disability and workers compensation, educational benefits including a college degree, tuition reimbursement for him and his spouse, college loans and the opportunity for scholarships for his children. Not to mention critical care and death benefits.
We are the working class, and I implore you to support the organization that supports you. Our strength is in our solidarity and collectiveness. Be an active and informed member - just paying dues is not enough.
We have challenges and I don’t care if you are 20 years old or 60 years old. Don’t take anything for granted. Be productive and be active. There’s organizing and political work to be done. Join a club; be registered to vote and vote for those looking out for your economic interests; come to your meetings; show up for rallies; and stand up and be counted with your brothers and sisters as we march proudly in the Labor Day parade. Your future is in your hands.