A Message from Business Manager Chris Erikson
“He ain’t heavy. He’s my brother.” Or she’s my sister.
Everyday, we work side by side with others and question how someone could say that, or act like that, or be like that. You might even think something’s wrong with that person and avoid them. It’s hard when that person is your partner or in your gang. Whether you're working in an electric closet or have close contact in a shanty and someone’s behavior is a little off or totally off the rails, what do you do? Some people just aren't approachable. It could be drugs or alcohol, which is usually obvious and definitely concerning if your safety or theirs could be compromised. You should act with no reservations. That person needs help whether they think they do or not. Most people with addiction problems are in denial.
Mental health is another question, and we don’t always see the pain or what’s really going on inside a person even if we sense something is wrong. Sometimes it’s too late to help. Suicide unfortunately is the end-all answer for some, and the numbers are staggering in the construction industry. The impact of the pandemic and prolonged unemployment has had devastating effects on our members who struggle to stay above water. Despite our benefits that are designed to sustain our members while unemployed and share the limited work opportunity, it may not be enough for some. The statistics are alarming. We have lost more than 15 members to suicide in just the last few years. Let’s all make it a priority to help those who need it. Whether they’re a coworker or it’s you who needs that help, we have the resources. Make the call. TOGETHER WE WILL OVERCOME THE MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTION CRISIS IN THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY.
Finally, tomorrow is Election Day, and you need to show up and make your voice heard. Every NYC Council seat is up for election along with a number of local races on Long Island, in Westchester, and in New Jersey. Union members need to continue to elect pro-worker, pro-union candidates to ensure we are represented in the halls of government where the fight continues against greedy corporations and developers who want it all. I want to thank all of our members who have participated in phonebanks, labor walks, and other GOTV efforts to engage our members and help inform each other about what's at stake. Show up like every vote matters, because it does.