Date Posted

The recent terrorist attacks in Paris and Southern California have many Americans on edge and justifiably so. Radical Islamist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda have declared war on the West and America. We will prevail. However we must not let our guard down by embracing the popular rants by some of the presidential candidates. We must not be drawn to support a candidate that may convince you to vote for them based on their positions on immigration, abortion, same sex marriage, or gun control. You must consider YOUR economic interests.
While their views on these issues may be popular with many union members these candidates have little concern with the bread and butter issues that affect union members. Most embrace the Koch brother ideologies including right-to-work and the elimination of collective bargaining and ultimately the elimination of unions altogether. Put you and your family’s priorities first, Local 3 does and we as a union will prevail if you give just a little thought to and support our important ideals and objectives.
Our success is predicated on the success of our employers. Our benefits are secured by the success of our employers. It is all about contributions based on man-hours. We must remain competitive in order to get the jobs. Non-union contractors pay low wages and don’t provide benefits. Today customers are concerned less about quality than costs. We need to provide quality and be productive in order to secure the work.
Our employers must give everyone ample opportunity regardless of gender or race. We must continue to respect one another and not allow anyone to divide our membership.
Prejudice will weaken our union and we will all pay the price.
Brotherhood / Sisterhood
We need to commit to protecting each other. If your only concern is yourself, this organization‰ÛÓyour organization will suffer. Our success is based on our unity; our strength is our collective strength. We must deal with the challenges together. What chance does a worker really have without a union? If you were not a member do you really think you would have half the benefits that you and your family have today? Take the time someday to write down on paper the benefits that you and your family have and ask yourself would I really have all of this if I weren’t a member of this Union and then figure out what you are willing to do to protect those benefits.
Our skills cost less! Think about that. Job done right, on time every time, one time. Highly skilled electrical workers bring quality and value. Are you honing your skills? Take advantage of the opportunities to continue your training. Every class is important. Every skill makes you more valuable and more productive. Don’t let the technology pass you by. Your apprenticeship training and college education were free. Tuition reimbursement for you and your spouse, Skills training, Critical Thinking, scholarships and college loans for your children. Worth protecting, you bet they are.
Young Workers
A 40-year career goes by like a blink of the eye. Before you know it you’re retired. Your local pension, the NEBF, the IO pension and social security checks each and every month. Your annuity, B fund if you are lucky and the 401k provide for a secure retirement. Full medical for you and your spouse in retirement. Insurance and coverage for your spouse when you die. Worth protecting? Invest in your future, be a mentor, encourage the next generation to be active members, lead by example. Everything we have is at risk if we let the union and the labor movement fall. Many young members have no knowledge of the history of this great organization and what it took from those who built it, teach them and you will be protecting your own benefits well into the future.
Not everyone who ever applied to get into Local 3 made it. You were lucky. But it didn’t stop them from becoming electricians. Trade schools, Boces, Mechanics Institute are some of the places where nonunion electricians get their skills. Workers from out of state and even other countries come to New York, most happy to get a job. There are hundreds of small non-union electrical contractors most of whom are not our competition yet. Some however have been successful and have grown and are competing in the traditional union market, specifically in the residential and hotel industry. Most have a few skilled workers and mostly helpers who are trained to do the less skilled tasks of an electrical installation. Some contractors actually rotate whole crews based on specific skills from one job to the next leaving the less skilled tasks to less skilled workers. Do you think the non-union contractors are paying anywhere near the wages Local 3 members make or provide the level of benefits that we have? These contractors are making money by taking advantage of these workers who might be desperate just to have the job. And by the way those workers get better and better with each job they do. Lower costs are responsible for driving the market down, we must organize those workers or we will be forced to lower our standards. That, brothers and sisters, is the ugly truth.
Corporate Agenda
The challenges that we are facing are not unique to Local 3 or the IBEW. They are being felt by almost every union member in the United States in both the private sector and the public sector. The war on the American trade union movement and American workers has been successful due to the unlimited amounts of money corporations and wealthy individuals have been willing to give to politicians that have sold out the working-class. The elimination of collective bargaining and dues check-off for public employees, the passage of right-to-work laws, the elimination of defined pension benefits, workplace safety, paid medical insurance, holidays and vacation. Everything unions have fought and paid for is at stake. Davis-Bacon, prevailing wage, overtime are under attack and they are not going to stop. The middle-class lifestyle that we have enjoyed is being dismantled piece by piece. As income inequality grows and taxes are cut for the wealthy, the ability to care for the growing number of poor families in America is disappearing. Greed is driving the failure of working-class Americans to provide food, clothing and shelter for themselves and their families. We are in a fight for our very survival and our government has failed to protect hard-working Americans.
Active Membership
So what’s it going to take to get you on board? Unemployment, the draining of your funds and foreclosure on the home you worked so hard for? We can’t let this happen and it will if you don’t do your share to protect the standards that we enjoy. If every member does a little, the few who get it won’t have to carry the load for you. Be part of the solution, be informed by attending union meetings, be registered to vote and exercise that right, electing those that will fight like hell for us. Challenge the whiners who do nothing but complain or criticize without offering their solutions to the difficult challenges we face. Working non-union for non-union wages is not what any of us really want. The gift of the Local 3 job that has pretty much been handed to us is worth fighting for. So get active, join a club, volunteer and be active in the political activity of the Union. Give back just a little bit, community service projects go a long way in helping those less fortunate and gives Local 3 a great name.