Date Posted

A Message from Business Manager Chris Erikson

Organizing is hard. Why? Because that non-union job, as poor and dangerous as it may be, is still what provides the ability for those workers to take care of themselves and their families. What's worse is that usually if they express an interest in organizing their company, their chance of getting fired is real. Despite their rights to seek union representation, they are afraid. Unlike union members who are protected by a collective bargaining agreement and have representation, these workers have none of that. History has taught us that when their conditions become unbearable, workers will take the risk, and today many workers are organizing as union membership starts to grow across the United States. The open shop construction industry in New York has to be organized. Not just the workers but their employers too. Our competition has to be organized.

Our work is cut out for us. Our wages and standards are at risk, because every non-union job has impacted our ability to put Local 3 electricians to work. Over the last few months, we have been educating that workforce and will continue to do so. They are being recognized as part of the construction industry in New York City. We are informing them of their rights and that they really do have the ability to earn the wages and benefits that we do. They too should have the ability to own a home, have medical coverage, to be able to afford to send their children to college, and to earn a pension that would allow them to retire in dignity.

13 construction workers in NYC were killed on the job last year, of which 9 were non-union and most were immigrants. Accidents happen in the construction industry, but the numbers bear out that safety on our jobs is better. That alone should move those who are at greater risk of being killed on non-union jobs to organize. We have a responsibility to help them do it, and we are committed to getting it done. Our membership has to get this done for them and for our sake as well. Harry Van Arsdale Jr. urged us to help those less fortunate. We have been talking to and educating these workers on 80 non-union jobs. Jobs that you walk past just to get to your job. Make it your business to talk to these workers on the streets, in the delis, and on the trains. Organizing is hard, but it starts with you. Every conversation helps not only them but protects our standards as well. Let’s do this.