Workers Memorial Day

Workers Memorial Day

Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO, President Jimmy Hart Special Message… Observance of Workers’ Memorial Day

“Mourn for the dead and fight like hell for the living,” or some variation thereof has been used as a rallying cry in the labor movement and the slogan surrounding Workers Memorial Day for decades. Attributed to Mother Jones, who was said to have told a group of miners in 1902, “Your organization is not a praying institution. It’s a fighting institution. It’s an educational institution along industrial lines. Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living!”

Today, the labor movement observes Workers Memorial Day on the anniversary of the passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Since its passage, safety has become a fundamental right. But as we all know, far too many workers are still being injured and killed on the job.

North America’s Metal Trades workforce toil at some of the most dangerous jobs in the world. And while the Metal Trades Department, its Councils, and our affiliated international unions work hard to ensure that all workers come home safely at the end of the day, there are still unnecessary injuries and fatalities on worksites throughout the nation.

The American labor movement must continue to lead the fight for more oversight, real penalties, and proper staffing at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). We need to hold Congress and the administration accountable for strengthening the mission, oversight, and authority of all government agencies and provide them with the resources necessary to ensure that all working people have safe jobs.

The Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO, and its affiliates are committed to promoting and ensuring that action on critical safety and health protections against preventable hazards: infectious diseases, heat illness, workplace violence, and exposure to silica and other toxins that kill tens of thousands of workers each year are implemented, maintained and improved.

Together we must use our collective voices to win stronger safety and health protections!

Today we observe Workers Memorial Day, but each day is one where workers and their unions must continue to vigorously fight like hell for the living and not rest until that special day arrives where we no longer must mourn for the injured and dead.

May God Bless and always keep safe the working men and women of our nation and the world.

President Hart: A Message of Hope, Promise, and Commitment this Easter

President Hart: A Message of Hope, Promise, and Commitment this Easter

As my family and I celebrate Easter this year, I am reminded of a quote from Janine di Giovanni, “Easter is meant to be a symbol of hope, renewal, and new life.”

Ms. di Giovanni, an author, and war correspondent, who spent years on the front lines witnessing conflict and the death, destruction, and devastation associated with war, is right. Easter should be about hope and new beginnings. So, as we emerge from our COVID-induced sequestration, let us begin the process of healing and recovery by renewing our commitment to one another, our labor family.

We call each other brothers and sisters in the labor movement for a reason. It is because we are, regardless of faith, color, or creed a family united in the belief that all of us deserve dignity and equity, safe working conditions, fair compensation, and time off for family and rest. Let us work together to continue our push for what is fair and just. Lend a hand to those that need it and fight collectively for the greater good to affect change now and in the future.

The amount of domestic uncertainty faced by American workers today is currently being overshadowed by the war in Ukraine. The insidious terrorist actions being imposed upon the people and country of Ukraine, compel us as a nation of God-fearing people to lengthen the spirit and resolve of the Lenten season and use that time of reflection, atonement, and preparation as lessons to embolden us long past the glory of Easter Sunday. As trade unionists, it’s up to us to pull together as workers, demonstrate the empowerment of solidarity, and employ the power we have as a union to affect change not only here and in the workplace but throughout the world as we demonstrate our support for all those oppressed.

Let’s approach and celebrate this Easter steeped in the knowledge that we are committed to a new day and age in which a unified labor movement is ready to take on the challenges of not only the Metal Trades workforce but that of those whose problems are seemingly far beyond our reach.

We are workers …. We are the union ….. We are one!

Happy Easter. God bless the Metal Trades and God bless America.

President Hart Statement on Biden Administration Proposed FY23 Budget

Metal Trades Department President Jimmy Hart issued the following statement in response to the Biden Administration proposed FY 23 budget:

“The Metal Trades Department applauds President Biden for proposing significant increases in discretionary spending for federal agencies.

“President Biden’s budget builds on his already historic progress and continues to put America’s working families first. His 19 percent increase in proposed funding for the Department of the Interior coupled with the already passed Infrastructure Law will create good-paying union jobs and make critical investments in climate resiliency, clean energy, and conservation.

“The budget lays a foundation for prosperity for generations to come.

“This budget includes $105-billion for the Department of Transportation to allow for maintenance and modernization of our nation’s most critical transportation assets. $3 billion for commercial-navigation projects—such as river locks and dams. We will see additional funding for our nation’s short sea shipping routes. Investment in domestic manufacturing, affordable housing, and supply chain modernization. The budget also addresses prescription drug prices, childcare, health care, and higher education.

“Increased defense spending including a four percent increase for the U.S. Navy and funding for modernization of all three legs of the nuclear triad, with $34.4 billion for the nuclear enterprise. That includes $6.3 billion for the Columbia-class submarine.

“With the release of this proposed FY23 budget, President Biden has once again shown his commitment to building back better an America for the people, of the people and by the people.

“We urge Congress to fund this budget and put America to work.”

Happy Thanksgiving from the Metal Trades Family to Yours

Happy Thanksgiving from the Metal Trades Family to Yours

On behalf of the executive council and staff of the Metal Trades Department, I would like to wish you and yours a happy and safe Thanksgiving.

As we begin this holiday season, I would like to take a few moments to thank you all for being a part of our Metal Trades family. The success of the Metal Trades Department, its local councils, and affiliates is due to the strength and support it receives from its family, friends, and allies in organized labor, government, and the community. Without your vital support, we would not be where we are today.

Our nation and Working Families, in particular, have been facing challenging times for what is almost two years due to the ravages and challenges associated with COVID-19. We will continue to face hurdles in the coming year, but as we have for the last year, I am confident that we will continue to emerge both as a people and nation stronger and better than ever.

Together in solidarity and thanks, metal trades workers will finally see the long-awaited light at the end of the tunnel, a beacon of light and hope that all working men and women have anxiously awaited and worked hard for. We will finally get to watch and enjoy the fruits of our political labor as President Biden and our allies in the House and Senate in Washington, DC. Statehouses throughout the land begin to put Americans back to work. They are investing in an American future that celebrates workers and their families by building back better, building back stronger, and building back by creating good paying union jobs with family-supporting benefits!

I hope you all enjoy your time with your family and friends this Thanksgiving Day. Please stay safe and healthy over the holiday weekend, my friends. Let us all say a prayer, and give thanks to our great nation. Thank you to our unions and their workers. The first responders and brave men and women who serve on the front lines, not only this day but every day, providing us with the services and safety needed for all to enjoy the American Dream, the freedoms and liberties that only this great nation can afford and provide.

Most importantly, let’s love one another, give thanks to God and country, and in the spirit of peace and harmony may God bless you, and God bless America! Happy Thanksgiving from the Metal Trades Family to Yours

Thank You Veterans—A Message from MTD President Hart

Thank You Veterans—A Message from MTD President Hart

Korean War veteran Howard Osterkamp is said to have coined the phrase, “all gave some; some gave all,” after spending three years in heavy combat with his unit. The saying, used to emphasize the gravitas of serving in our nation’s military, truly connotes how our soldiers serve selflessly.

Too often, veterans return from service with few prospects in civilian life. But the Metal Trades Department, its Councils, and our affiliated unions have worked hard to change that. In labor, we know the value that veterans bring to our organizations. We will always welcome and support our military members while in service and as they retire.

I am proud to say, our Metal Trades partners have spent countless years crafting programs that deliver real opportunities for veterans. Our labor union affiliates provide careers for the men and women transitioning from military service to civilian employment, often expediting training and apprenticeships based upon military duties. I am proud of our management partners whose work supports those still serving, offering jobs to veterans as they retire that allow them to continue to support our military endeavors. 

This Veterans Day, I want to, of course, thank our nation’s veterans for their service. But I also want to thank all of our labor partners for their work to create programs that train and employ veterans. Without these programs, designed by our nation’s labor unions, specifically those affiliated with the Metal Trades, many of our veterans would find themselves with few opportunities as they transition to civilian life. To our veterans, know that we value your service. Like Howard Osterkamp, we know far too many gave all in defense of our freedoms. And we know far too many found themselves unsupported and alone upon returning from service; our unions thank you, and we support you. 

The Metal Trades Department, its affiliates, and councils vow on this Veterans Day or any other day to never forget the patriotism and effort of all who served on behalf of a grateful nation. 

To this very day, veterans who comprise a vital component within the Metal Trades are willing to go where the nation’s leaders lead them and, in many cases, never stop giving their lives for the mission. We salute them all for being willing to see every task on behalf of a nation’s national security literally through to its end. On behalf of the affiliates, officers and staff of the department, I offer all veterans today our thanks, gratitude and respect. 

God bless you all. 

In Solidarity,

James Hart, 

Metal Trades Department President