‘The Dogmas of the Quiet Past, are Inadequate to the Stormy Present’

‘The Dogmas of the Quiet Past, are Inadequate to the Stormy Present’

A 4th of July Message from Metal Trades Department President Jimmy Hart

In 1862, Abraham Lincoln addressed Congress saying, “The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise — with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew.”

President Lincoln’s profound words could, and probably should, be uttered by our nation’s leaders today. Our country is reeling. Reeling from the effects of COVID-19 and the loss of lives and livelihoods. Reeling from the unprecedented unrest of protestors calling for change. These turbulent times demand our leadership step up this 4th of July and unite us, not divide us.

While I would love to put forth a holiday message filled with platitudes, and wishes for a safe holiday weekend, I just do not feel that that is the appropriate message this year. Of course, I wish you all well and hope that however you choose to spend your holiday weekend you are safe and enjoy your time. But I would be remiss if that is all I said.

This tumultuous year has brought on suffering the likes of which many of us have never experienced. And unfortunately, there is no panacea. No magic pill to solve the ills and injustices. As Lincoln said, “the occasion is piled high with difficulty.” But our country has experienced great upheaval before. We can and will get through this. But we must “think anew.” And we must “act anew.”

Independence Day in 1776 marked the start of a novel adventure for our nation. Let’s join together as American workers to ensure that the events of 2020 become a marker for our next novel adventure. We have a nation of bright and earnest workers who can lead us through our troubles. Let’s listen to them as we march forward. America, despite its flaws, is a great nation filled with promise. We are, of course, “one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.”

God bless you all and God bless America.

Statement from the Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO on the Death of George Floyd

First and foremost, the death of George Floyd is tragic and at the Metal Trades Department we cannot allow his demise to be in vain. We mourn with you.

“An injury to one is an injury to all.”

We have all heard the saying in the house of labor, but what does it mean especially when we fail as a movement to address the human and civil rights violations rampant in our country.

Systemic issues such as police brutality, poverty, and racial inequality plague us. The horrific events surrounding George Floyd’s death, the terrifying reports of the killing of Ahmed Aubrey, the deaths across the country of far too many black and brown men and women. It is no wonder we are seeing such fervent protests.

We can utter platitudes and quote the likes of Martin Luther King, Jr., and other great civil rights leaders, but until we actually face the continued problems of unequal justice and institutionalized racism, underinvestment in our communities of color and the continued oppression of black and brown Americans, labor cannot claim to be a great movement.

We must, in the labor movement and at every level of government, from city councils to the office of the President of the United States, admit that racial and income inequality are real, racism in America is real, and detrimental to our society. We must admit that we have a problem. We must truly believe and act as if, “an injury to one is an injury to all.”

Until that happens, America’s greatness will always be challenged.

Memorial Day Message from President Hart

Memorial Day Message from President Hart

Memorial Day has never looked quite like this one will. As we enter this long holiday weekend, meant to remind us of those brave men and women who fought and died so that we could be free, our country is facing a new war. A war that has no clear enemy but has taken lives and livelihoods across the nation and the globe. With record unemployment, shelter in place orders still in effect across the country, and Americans sick and dying, this Memorial Day may take on new meaning.

As is tradition, at 3:00 p.m. on Monday, May 25 I will join with the nation in a moment of remembrance to honor our fallen military members. And this year, I will include in my prayers those who we lost in this new war.

On behalf of the officers and staff of the Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO, I wish you a safe and happy Memorial Day. God bless you all and God bless America.

A Special Note of Pride and Thanks!

A Special Note of Pride and Thanks!

Dear Metal Trades Council Member,

On behalf of a grateful union and workers throughout the land, I want to salute essential employees everywhere and give a special shout out to North America’s Metal Trades workforce.

From my first day as a Metal Trades Representative, I became aware of the special talents and traits that metal trades workers who build and repair America’s military, clean its toxic messes, and construct and keep ready America’s most critical government infrastructure possess. From the Navy Shipbuilder awakened in the middle of the night to answer the call of duty anywhere in the world to the mission essential worker specially trained to protect our country’s national security, you are among the most committed and generous people I know!

But none of the above is why I’m writing to you now.

It’s not as though the day to day life of your metal trade’s vocation hasn’t already made me especially proud of each and every one of you as your President. In my eyes and that of your union, you are already heroes. I write because I would be remiss in my responsibility as your President, if I didn’t commend and pay homage to your service and commitment during this pandemic.

The sense of obligation displayed by each and every metal trades council member, not only to the mission and country but to the ideals of trade unionism, have never wavered, through good times and bad. Your clear sense of purpose and performance, while predictable is nothing short of remarkable!

I can only guess the thoughts that pass through the minds of metal trades working men and women as they awake each morning and ready themselves for another unpredictable day in the course of America’s worst health crises.


I’ve learned that Metal Trades workers don’t worry that jumping into the proverbial water is dangerous, they don’t succumb to the pleas of loved ones that don’t want them to leave home to go to work and face danger, nor do they prescribe to the theory that discretion is the better part of valor. When circumstances demand immediate action, metal trades men and women don’t ruminate, they react. They silently and unapologetically understand that they cannot and will never put at risk the mission that is responsible for America’s national security.

I believe you to be not only an essential labor force, but America’s most special workforce!

As the President of the Metal Trades Department and your proud leader, I often wonder if I would or could perform as you do. We often think we know how we’ll react when facing certain circumstances, often assuming we’ll do the right thing, the best thing, the heroic thing, the thing that best enables us to preserve the positive image we have of ourselves. Luckily, most of us never have to find out just how well we know ourselves. I’d like to think that some part of each of you pauses to recognize that you are in fact, heroes, and I hope that you give yourselves credit, even if only momentarily, for being willing to risk your lives for the mission, flag and country.

Metal Trades workers are on the front lines of this global pandemic, one that has exposed them to a precarious situation, while adding additional layers of burden and responsibility to an already tough job. Covid-19 has sparked uncertainty and unrest within society. Now more than ever, please know that your union has your back.

We will continue to fight for you, through the good times and bad. It is our job to ensure that you never have to choose between your health and your paycheck. You have every right and expectation to look to your leaders to help guide you and your families safely through these distressing times. We will not let you down!

On behalf of the Metal Trades Department Executive Council, staff and labor movement, please accept our thanks for a job well done. It is my greatest wish that you convey the warm regards and gratitude of the department to your spouses, significant others and families. The sacrifice made by your families in support of your livelihood is the strongest part of the fabric that makes our union both great and special.

You are among America’s best skilled, most productive model citizens and we appreciate you!

Thank you and God Bless America!

The union makes us strong!

A Message from President Hart: Happy Easter

A Message from President Hart: Happy Easter

As we prepare to celebrate the joy of Easter amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Metal Trades Department, its councils and affiliates wish to convey our prayers and continued commitment of our union to all workers of this nation. While many of America’s institutions and businesses are closed, the work of the Metal Trades Department and staff continues as we strive to meet the needs of our councils, their members, families and communities through this heart breaking global healthcare crisis.

As public fear and uncertainty grow around the COVID-19 pandemic, metal trades workers are demonstrating solidarity, hope and political will each day as they endeavor to help our country through this crises.

While the COVID-19 crisis reminds us of our shared imperfections, our labor unions are demonstrating how all workers are truly connected. Workers are beginning to see and understand that ecological order is connected to the human condition, that eradicating the pandemic in one community will never be achieved unless it is done in all communities; and that the success and safety of frontline responders are linked to our willingness to stay home. It is at this moment, when we need to stay at safe distances, that we are finally brought together as one working family standing together to build a better future. 

The coming days and months will continue to bring us great challenges, heartache and pain, but will also provide us moments of hope.  Each day, we witness the pain of lost loved ones, ill-health, unemployment and economic uncertainty. However, we also see so many great moments of bravery, hope and grace in the noble and selfless labor of working men and women, who at the risk of great personal sacrifice, dedicate themselves to ensuring that our communities, cities, and states are safe.

There is an old saying in the movement, “Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living.” It is derived from Mother Jones, an Irish immigrant who fought alongside mineworkers and others who often put their lives on the line when they went to work. I believe Mother Jones would heartily approve of organized labor’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic, as workers are coming to the aid of nations sick, poor and broken. 

As we celebrate Easter, let’s ensure that our sacrifice and effort in defeating this devastating pandemic is not in vain, and that we use the lessons learned in this time of crises and uncertainty to build a brighter future for our entire country.

On behalf of the officers and staff of the Metal Trades Department, I wish you all a safe, happy, healthy Easter of love and peace.

May God Bless America ….. We are #MetalTradesStrong!

Summary of the Provisions of the Family First Coronavirus Response Act

Summary of the Provisions of the Family First Coronavirus Response Act

Memo issued by President Hart on the Family First Coronavirus Response Act. This memorandum summarizes the provisions of the Response Act that are most salient to labor unions and group health plans. Specifically, this memorandum will focus on the Response Act’s provisions concerning: (1) emergency paid sick leave; (2) emergency family and medical leave; (3) unemployment insurance benefits; (4) health care provisions as they relate to employer-provided health coverage; and (5) employer tax credits for emergency family and medical leave
and emergency paid sick leave.

Resources Available to Affected Member in the Pacific Northwest & California

Dozens of historic deadly wildfires continue to consume millions of acres in the west, especially in California, Oregon and Washington where in some cases entire towns have been destroyed and tens of thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes.

Most evacuees have had to leave quickly with little advance notice, taking what few belongings they could. Thousands of homes and businesses have been incinerated. Weather conditions are improving, but the fire danger isn’t over. Wildfires are also burning in Utah, Nevada, Arizona, Idaho, Wyoming and Montana.

The Metal Trades Department has compiled a list of resources for our members and employment partners. If you need additional assistance, contact your MTD General Representative.

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