On behalf of the International Union’s Executive Board, I want to wish the happiest of holidays to you and yours.
As I write this letter, it’s a grey December day in Washington, but you don’t have to look far to see bright and cheerful reminders of the festive season. It’s that time of year when we celebrate our dearest traditions, cherish those closest to us, refect on the past, and imagine what the future might bring. In short, it’s a time for taking stock of things, and like so many of you, I’ve been doing just that over the past couple weeks.
Ever since I emigrated to the United States from rural Ireland in the early Seventies, BAC has been at the center of my life. When I arrived in Chicago, I had relatives already in the masonry industry, so I picked up a trowel and never looked back.
It wasn’t long before I realized how important the union was to the livelihood of its members. Everything on the job – from the wages, to the benefits, to the working conditions – it was all due to the collective bargaining agreement negotiated by the union. Even more, the agreement itself was a hard-won mark of respect; its very existence showed the world that the contractor needed to sit down and bargain, as equals, with the union and its members.
So when I moved to San Francisco, one of my first stops was the Local 7 California union hall. Years later, when my local’s business manager, Pat Canavan, asked me to run for President of the Local, I agreed. I couldn’t refuse to serve the union that had done so much for me. And when I was given the chance to represent my fellow members as a business agent, I humbly accepted.
I never planned to become a union business agent, let alone President of our International Union. But through some combination of hard work and good fortune, that’s what happened. Every day that I have served BAC – from that first role as President of Local 7 to the present – I’ve counted myself lucky to have the opportunity to do so. It has truly been an honor and privilege to work for you.
Today, I believe that BAC is in good shape. As a union, we have so much work left to do, but we’ve positioned ourselves well for future success. So with that in mind – and with much thought and careful consideration – I believe that the time has come for me to retire as President of the International Union, effective December 31, 2019. It’s time for a new generation to take on the honor and responsibility of leading BAC.
We couldn’t ask for a more qualified leader than our next President, Tim Driscoll. Tim is a bricklayer by trade who joined Local 3 MA in 1985 before moving to Local 1 MD/VA/DC in 1992. He is thoughtful, a great leader, and a trade unionist who has never forgotten why our union was founded. I know that he has what it takes to carry our mission forward.
Happy holidays to each and every one of you, and thanks - once again – for your loyalty to the union and the trade.