From the desk of Ryan Ruf,
The oldest continuously operating trade union in North America, the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers was established during a great wave of blue-collar union formation in 1865. My Brothers and Sisters, as we enter this new decade with related endeavors, I will remind you that the history of all previous societies has been the history of class struggles. Let us not forget what this is all about: A livable wage to provide for our families.
All wealth is the product of labor and we trade our bodies for a paycheck. Our fight is with organized greed and our ambitions are noble; a safe work environment, a reasonable wage for a better quality of life and the chance to retire with dignity.
The path for better pay can seem obvious, we negotiate wages between Employer and Employee to get the very best agreement for both parties; however, in the construction industry there are other factors that come in to play. Working efficiently and competitive estimating is not enough for a union shop to capture work in the private sector. When a low rode contractor captures work solely on labor cost, there is a tremendous injustice being served. If we can educate our local council members, school superintendents, and other representatives, the focus on profits should not come at the expense of the labor force. This unfairness of hard-working men and women being paid at cut rates with no benefits like health and welfare or a pension can only increase the already large inequality between an upper class and lower class. It is unfair that a craftworker can give to a trade for 30 years and have nothing to show for it. Union or non-union, we all work for a paycheck and our income reflects each other’s but if we can get the backing of local officials to support the prevailing wage for their area, then labor cost will not be cut during the biding process.
The power has always been with the people, but when we are divided and fighting with each other, we can easily be defeated. We, the blue-collar workers are the middle class and cannot segregate the unorganized workforce. We must unite because as builders our jobs are not going anywhere; keep in mind that the people need us to turn drawings into reality. We have a voice and we must use it.
Across the state we are preparing for an election on November 3rd, Politicians, Judges and Supervisors are asking for endorsements and votes but what are we asking of them? To put it simply the best question you can raise to them is, what are you going to do for my family and me? As the polling phone calls become greater and the campaign promises persist, I can personally urge you this, to vote yourself a better paycheck!
Register to vote and if possible, vote by mail, covid-19 has not gone away. Please practice social distancing and cover your face. Keeping a clean workplace is doing your part and speaking up is more important than ever before. If you are sick or feel you may be getting sick, do not go to work. Fight the spread!
Work Safe and Stay Healthy,