The true meaning of Memorial Day often gets lost to pool parties, beach trips, and backyard barbeques. But Memorial Day is in fact a day of remembrance. A day to honor the sacrifices made by the men and women who have died in service to the United States military.
As we watch our allies in Ukraine battle to save their democracy, it reminds me of something former Secretary of State Madeline Albright once said, “while democracy in the long run is the most stable form of government, in the short run, it is among the most fragile.”
Democracy is precious and freedom is precarious. The men and women of our military fight every day to preserve the American way of life. Their sacrifices deserve our honor and respect every day. But on this day, it is most important that we remember the fallen soldiers. That we honor their sacrifices and strive to build an America that our service members can be proud to represent.
Within the labor movement, we have the opportunity to contribute to a better America every day by organizing, supporting, and representing each other. The labor movement, in particular those represented within the Metal Trades, are the bulwark of democracy and the stronger we are, the stronger America is. The Metal Trades and its partners and allies will always defend democracy, your rights at work, and your freedom in society.
On behalf of the Metal Trades Department staff, executive council, and members, I wish you a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend. I invite you to take time to remember those who lost their lives so that we are free to live ours. I hope you all stay safe and healthy. God bless you. God bless our fallen soldiers and God bless America.
My sadness today is palpable. I cannot imagine what the families in Uvalde, Texas, are going through. The Metal Trades Department and its affiliated international unions, along with all of our labor allies and partners, are devastated by the loss of 19 children and two teachers to such a senseless act of violence.
The community of Uvalde and Robb Elementary School are in our prayers. But beyond praying, we need action. Congress must address the underlying, uniquely American issues that continue to allow these horrific mass shootings to occur.
The Senate has, within its power, the ability to act swiftly. Still, the reality is that the U.S. Congress has proven over and over that it is unwilling or unable to pass substantial federal legislation to curb gun violence.
America’s children and working families deserve better. We urge Congress to find a path forward and pass legislation to address gun violence.
TO: All Metal Trades Council Presidents
FROM: James Hart, President Metal Trades Department, AFL-CIO
DATE: May 19, 2022
RE: MTC Representation Activities / Updated Covid-19 Regulations
Dear Metal Trades Council President:
COVID 19 regulations have been relaxed in most areas throughout the United States and Canada. However, all Metal Trades Council leaders must remain diligent and aware of the dangers associated with the infection and strive to protect our affiliates and their members from contamination both in the workplace and when conducting organized council activities.
The Department recognizes that most council by-laws mandate delegate meetings are conducted live and under one roof. These assemblies are crucial to keeping affiliates and bargaining unit members informed, especially at a time when council leaders are engaged in collective bargaining and working hard to protect workers from employers and legislators who look to take advantage of them during a time of decreased public access.
There is no doubt that Zoom and multiple other videoconferencing applications are here to stay. Neither their effectiveness nor use should be degraded or minimalized by council officers as this platform provides both a time-saving and cost-effective forum that benefits council affiliates and bargaining unit members through heightened representational access. However, live meetings are without a doubt more compelling and exciting. Videoconferencing cannot replace the crucial function of such gatherings.
Accordingly, the Department encourages any local council not doing so to reinstate all in-person council representation activities in an orderly, safe, and productive manner. Should a council choose (without valid reason) not to comply with this request, they may be subject to charges from affiliates and bargaining unit members of violation of Taft Hartley and the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act.
However, in doing so, council officers are urged to consider the implementation of the following guidelines:
1. Strictly abide by all federal, state and local COVID 19 rules and regulations governing public assembly.
a. In the absence of government or institutional prohibitions regarding COVID 19, council officers should adopt common-sense safety measures and enforce them. All safety measures need to be adequately communicated to attendees prior to the meeting.
2. Limit the service of refreshments. By eliminating refreshments, council officers eliminate a common gathering spot where germs can be easily spread.
3. Consider hosting meetings in larger spaces to provide for socially distant meetings.
4. Clean thoroughly before and after meetings.
5. Encourage hand washing and sanitizing throughout the assembly.
6. Host hybrid meetings to accommodate those who state that they feel uncomfortable attending in person.
Should you have any questions regarding this important request, please feel free to contact your respective Department General Representative at your convenience.
Thank you for your time and consideration.