Date Posted

On May 11,1939, Harry Van Arsdale Jr. along with other Local 3 leaders put forth a resolution that formed the Local 3 Workers Education Department. The resolution in part said, ‰ÛÏThere are many pressing problems facing the working men and women of this country today and present indications are that the problems will increase. If these problems are to be solved properly, the workers must find the solutions themselves. In order to do this, they must know how to study, analyze, discuss, introduce and put into effect the remedies...‰Û�
In September 1939, five months after the formulation of the Workers Education Department, Nazi Germany invaded Poland and launched WWII. By 1945 when the war ended, 50 million people had lost their lives. During the two days of August 11-12 of 2017 American Nazis, carrying flags of Nazi Germany, wearing military camouflage uniforms and brandishing assault weapons while leading a march of White Supremacists and the KKK, threatened and intimidated American citizens in the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia.
The May 11,1939 resolution is as relevant today as it was then. One important development has been Local 3‰Ûªs Business Manager, Christopher Erikson, becoming an important voice, not just on issues affecting working people and their families but also on national and global issues such as the perils of climate change. As organized labor is reintroducing itself to American workers while endeavoring to increase the size of its membership it will be recognized that the interests of its members will continue to be consistent with the national interest.
The insight of Harry Van Arsdale, Jr., sustained by Thomas Van Arsdale and now Business Manager Christopher Erikson has taken the original Workers Education Department and expanded that into what is now the Joint Industry Board Educational and Cultural Trust Fund. With the establishment of the Fund, scholarships for member‰Ûªs children, college loan and tuition reimbursement programs for members and their wives as well as the trailblazing course in Critical Thinking in Human Relations followed. Add the Harry Van Arsdale, Jr., School of Labor Studies and you have the foundation and core of Local 3‰Ûªs educational initiative. At no time in recent memory have these benefits been more needed and more vital. Over many years the collective programs and resources of our organization‰Ûªs education investments has made substantial civic contribution to our members, their families and the New York City community.
Not too long ago I visited the Fund‰Ûªs new Long Island Education Center in Cutchogue, New York. While attending the Saturday session on human rights, I had the opportunity to meet with and discuss a number of public issues with members of Local 3‰Ûªs Motorcycle Club and Local 3‰Ûªs Young Workers Committee. Several of the Local 3 members shared in detail how they were often stopped by local law enforcement. This led to a lengthy discussion of both human rights in America and how profiling people based on their appearance, clothes and race lead to abuses of human rights and personal humiliation. One young journeyman electrician, with a lifetime of having his rights being routinely violated, offered in detail how he had been stopped without reason over 30 times by the police. Hearing a brother-member discuss his encounters in a matter of fact tone was revealing. Everyone has their story to tell and no doubt police officers can certainly provide no shortage of accounts where they accurately perceived a genuine and life-threatening risk. Yet, because of new camera technology, too many incidents have come to light throughout the nation. This is no small matter; we in organized labor can help deliver the message. Whatever one thinks about exporting our approach to human rights around the world, when it comes to our own citizens on American soil, there can be no compromise. During my visit that Saturday I also had conversations with some members who approached me to thank me for my service. I was struck by the two groups who attended the workshop as to their age, ethnicity and attire (biker dress) and the knowledge and experience they brought to the discussion. On Sunday, I spoke briefly about human rights in the People‰Ûªs Republic of China, the history of the investment program of the Joint Industry Board and about my overall curiosity of tattoos. They (club/committee) were one of the most collegial groups I‰Ûªve been in contact with in a long time. They were considerate and insightful; I am especially grateful to Business Agent James Bua and President of the Motorcycle Club Joe Magel for letting me participate in their weekend.
Willful misinformation, deliberate fake news, ‰ÛÏalternative‰Û� facts and outright lies must not be allowed to be the dialogue of the hour. This suggests that we all must constantly and permanently renew our commitment to education as well as supporting Local 3‰Ûªs 78-year determination to make sure all our members and their families elevate themselves so that they can become part of the conversation.

The following article was submitted by former JIB Chairman Larry Jacobson.