‘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.

MTD and Its Allies Call on Congress to Pass the Heroes Act

MTD and Its Allies Call on Congress to Pass the Heroes Act

We urge all members of Congress to strongly support the “HEROES ACT” Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act.

June 29, 2020

RE:  “HEROES ACT” Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act

Dear Leader McConnell, Speaker Pelosi, Leader Schumer, and Leader McCarthy:

The Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO and the undersigned labor unions represent tens of thousands of shipbuilder’s, shipbreakers, harbor construction workers, longshore workers, and other essential port and maritime workers. We build, maintain and operate the ships and facilities that provide our nations supply chain and national defense. We are the American workforce that continues to perform their duties diligently and with distinction, regardless of risk or exposure to COVID-19, ensuring that food and medical supplies are unloaded and delivered to combat this heinous virus.

Unfortunately, a number of our nation’s essential maritime employees have already passed away from COVID 19. Many more in the maritime and its related workforces have been hospitalized due to coronavirus illnesses and now face long term consequences to their health and family finances.

We strongly support the changes in the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act embodied in the “Heroes Act” passed by the House of Representatives on May 15, 2020. The Act, in separate sections, creates a presumption of causation of workplace illness arising from virus exposure for certain federal workers and for workers covered under the Longshore and Harbor Worker’s Compensation Act. It is imperative that maritime industry “Heroes” receive the temporary or permanent disability benefits provided by the Act, as well as reasonable medical expenses and death benefits. The legislation does not blame employers or insurance carriers for the pandemic. The only legislative requirement of employers is that they comply with applicable safety and health regulations. Employer experience ratings or premiums will not be affected, as insurance carriers are provided relief through the legislation that allows them to recoup losses for COVID-19 related expenses.

This provision among many contained in the  “Heroes Act” is an important next step in our country’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, providing compensation and critical health and safety protections for workers. The affiliates of the Metal Trades Department, and their partners in the labor movement, strongly urge the Senate to adopt the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act provision(s) in the House of Representatives Heroes Act.

As you begin to complete your work on the next round of stimulus and worker protection legislation, the undersigned organizations urge you to enact bipartisan policy provisions that will guarantee the health and safety of all American workers.


Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO


Maritime Trades Department, AFL-CIO

Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO

Federal Workers Alliance

International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers

International Brotherhood of Boilermakers

International Brotherhood of Teamsters

International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers

International Longshoremen’s Association

International Longshore and Warehouse Union

International Organization of Masters, Mates & Pilots

National Association of Government Employees-SEIU

National Federation of Federal Employees

Operative Plasterers’ & Cement Masons’ International Association

Laborers’ International Union of North America

MTD Joins Multiple Labor Organizations in Letter Calling on Congress to Ensure Voter Access

MTD Joins Multiple Labor Organizations in Letter Calling on Congress to Ensure Voter Access

The Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO joined multiple labor organizations in a joint letter to Congress urging leaders to act swiftly to pass legislation that ensures every eligible voter is able to participate in the 2020 elections amid COVID-19 and that future elections are resilient to national emergencies – including natural disasters and pandemics.

See the pdf of the full letter below.

Letter from President Hart to AFL-CIO President Trumka in Support of Committee on Human and Civil Rights and Legislation and Policy Resolution

June 9, 2020

Mr. Richard Trumka
815 16th Street NW
Washington, DC 20006

Re: Committee on Human and Civil Rights and Legislation and Policy Resolution

Dear President Trumka,

On behalf of the Metal Trades Department, please be advised that I applaud the work of the Committee on Human and Civil Rights and Legislation and Policy, and I wholeheartedly urge the Executive Council to adopt the proposed resolution.

The past weeks have been ones of deep reflection for me. I have listened to the statements of our members, activists, and the American people engaged on all sides of the conversation about racial equity. It is not lost on me that as a white man, who has benefited from the privilege of being so, that I cannot fully understand the struggles and obstacles overcome by our brothers and sisters of color. But I have learned that I can and must listen to their voices, and that I can and must do better.

Our nation and our movement are at a crossroads. Years of being under attack by special interests and corporations with unlimited resources have necessarily led to the devotion of significant resources into preservation rather than progress. This  resolution represents a measured and appropriate first step in the right direction.

We must do more than renew our focus on empowering our members of color. We must also listen and welcome with open arms the statements and ideas of our brothers and sisters in the Black Lives Matters movement. It’s far past time that all in labor roll up our sleeves and join these marches for justice and equality. Let’s open our doors and welcome the Black Lives Matter movement as a partner for social change. Let’s devote our experience and resources in organization and strategic campaigning to empowering and supporting this movement.

With warmest regards, I remain

In Solidarity,

James Hart

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.

Every 10 years, the US Census Bureau undertakes a mammoth task: counting all the people residing in the United States. This count affects the allocation of funding for our community’s public resources (e.g., roads, hospitals, schools), how we plan for the future, and our voice in government. Learn more about the importance of the #2020Census and how to participate: 2020census.gov.

Be Counted!!

No, thanks!