BAC Journal > Justice in the Workplace is Earned, not Granted

Justice in the Workplace is Earned, not Granted

2023 Issue 1
President's Message

This adage represents an enduring principle for our union. BAC members recognize that the craft skills – honed through apprenticeship, training, and constant skills advancement over a career – are what make us an essential part of the projects that we undertake with our signatory contractors. These skills are earned through persistence and a passion for our crafts, and an abiding commitment to the fair treatment of all workers engaged in our trades.    

However, we also recognize that there are those who seek to diminish our values on the jobsite. Whether it is non-union contractors and developers who seek to undermine the wages and conditions that our local unions have fought to establish, or politicians that attack the rights of unions to represent workers, we must be prepared to fight these attacks on workers’ rights. The pages of this BAC Journal detail the different ways that BAC is engaged in the fight for justice in the workplace. 

Last month BAC members and workers across Michigan sent an unmistakable message to politicians that opposing workers’ rights can cost you your job. Voters in Michigan replaced the anti-union GOP majorities in both the State Senate and House of Representatives with a pro-worker, Democratic majority that moved quickly to repeal Michigan’s bogus “right-to-work” (RTW) law and restore prevailing wage for construction projects. This historic win, the first time in 58 years that RTW was repealed, highlights the importance of why we must support labor-friendly candidates (p 20-21).  

While at the federal level, BAC continues to benefit from the worker-friendly initiatives and programs that the Biden Administration has put into place. From pension security to strengthening Davis-Bacon, to project labor agreements, to infrastructure investments, to penalizing employers that exploit immigrants without work authorization, President Biden has repeatedly proven himself a friend of labor (p 17-18).

The fundamental principle that labor deserves dignity, and workers are entitled to a voice in their workplace, is grounded in the recognition that commitment to our trade skills and each other are what distinguish BAC in our industry. That commitment is on display on projects across North America every day, such as the J Resort project in Reno, NV (p 3-9), and in the apprenticeship and training programs that thousands of BAC members participate in each day (p 12, 15, 24-26).

Our union is a talented and diverse community of craftworkers dedicated to advancing BAC’s voice in the workplace. Retired IU Secretary-Treasurer Bob Arnold has been a key part of that community for over 45 years. He dedicated many of those years to training future generations of craftworkers, before helping to lead our International Union these last three years. I want to thank him for his support, example, and friendship.

Of course, when one door closes, another opens, and with that we welcome Brother Jeremiah Sullivan, Jr. to the role of IU Secretary-Treasurer. Jerry has been an invaluable part of the IU leadership since 2020, bringing a wealth of experience and vision to his new position. I am also excited to introduce Brother Keith Hocevar as IU Executive Vice President. Keith’s energy and creativity promise to strengthen our efforts to grow the unionized masonry industry. 

Brothers and Sisters: Stay healthy, stay safe!