Growing Our Union Together
As another year comes to an end, it is a good time to reflect on our accomplishments as a Union and examine our goals as we look forward to the New Year. This edition of the BAC Journal features the winners of the 2017 BAC Craft Awards. It is always exciting to celebrate the skills and achievement of our members. I am sure you will agree that this year’s winners are truly deserving, and examples of why BAC members have earned the title of “the Best Hands in the Business.”
We have much to be proud of this year, including our commitment to growing our Union. For some time now, I have been saying that the top three priorities of our Union are organizing, organizing and organizing. Organizing is our priority, because it must be if we are to continue to be the longest continuous craft union in North America.
Organizing is not easy, but we are up to the task. Focusing on organizing requires us to rethink the way we have been doing business. It cannot be just another item that we add to our list of things to do. There is an old saying that “if everything is a priority, then nothing is a priority.” We must make organizing our top priority, and we must allocate our resources and efforts to reflect that.
Throughout the Union, Locals and ADCs are stepping up and doing the right thing. Rather than adding the task of organizing to already busy staff, we are hiring or designating organizers who have a singular focus on organizing. To support those organizers, we are establishing organizing committees in every local jurisdiction—we are not just adding it as another issue to be addressed by the existing management structure. And we are developing strategic organizing plans designed to add new signatory contractors and recruit new members.
When we organize, our members play a very important role. Our members know our industry: every BAC member knows at least one non-union craftworker and most know at least one non-union contractor. The information that you, our members, share with our Locals/ADCs is very powerful.
Our organizers and Locals/ADCs need your help growing our union.
Contact your Local today if you would like to support or join the Local’s Volunteer Organizing Committee, or attend a COMET (Construction Organizing Membership Education Training) class to learn about organizing. Every BAC Local will offer COMET this year and next.
We are already seeing some successes from our efforts. On page 14, you will read a story on how our members in Hawaii effectively protected their market against a low-road non-union employer.
The Union is making the changes needed to focus on organizing for new members. It requires a different way of thinking and a different way of doing our business.
On behalf of the International Union Executive Board, I wish you Merry Christmas, joyful holidays, and a happy and healthy New Year.