Delegates to the Metal Trades Department’s 69th Convention re-elected Ron Ault to a third full term as President, along with 10 incumbent members of the Department’s Executive Council. The Convention also acted to welcome the Laborers International Union as an affiliate. LIUNA re-affiliated with the Department earlier in the year.
The Convention expanded the Department’s Executive Council by one position and elected Laborers International President Terry O’Sullivan to that spot.
President Ault reported that the Department enjoyed significant progress on several fronts in the days leading up to the Convention. “Nothing comes quickly in the labor movement, but patience and hard work often pays off in the long view,” he said.
Ault pointed to developments at Avondale Shipyard, where a combination of public and private investment promises to open up vast new opportunities for the shipbuilding industry after decades of decline. He was alluding to an infusion of more than $500 million in federal and state money that the Department has helped stimulate by lobbying and galvanizing the community to hopefully transition the shipyard from Navy shipbuilding to new commercial vessels. Additionally, serious private investors are in talks with the shipyard to begin building a series of Jones Act vessels to launch a short sea shipping service on U.S. waterways.
Ault also predicted that the Department is “very close” to culminating work on behalf of former nuclear workers who have been struggling to win compensation for illnesses they contracted due to exposure to toxic and radioactive materials.
He thanked delegates and Metal Trades Councils for the support and energy they provide to press these and other campaigns.
Building Trades President Mark Ayers delivered a rousing keynote, calling on delegates to “stand up” to the threat of corporate money and Wall Street greed.
He said the spread of demonstrations by activists engaged in various Occupy efforts in cities across the nation is a “glimmer of hope” that working Americans can reclaim their democracy.