2022 Leadership Summit Brings Together Industry and Labor Partners
“You can find the Metal Trades on the sea, in the air, and on the ground…the Metal Trades are everywhere!”
And with that call to action, President Hart called the Metal Trades Annual Leadership Summit to order telling attendees that “organized labor and the metal trades may, at times get knocked down but we always get back up again. And nothing can ever keep us down.”
Opening the Summit, Hart laid out the agenda for the two-days, which took place at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, telling participants that both the science and reality of COVID have dictated that it is time to reestablish personal contact between all segments of the Metal Trades Industry.
Hart reiterated that despite the long and arduous hiatus imposed upon American life by this dreadful killer infection and its variants, the Metal Trades Department, its affiliates, and Councils have plowed through their work in a consistently safe manner and achieved astounding results.
Our work has included negotiating fair contracts, winning strikes, and leading the way politically in overturning harmful Trump-era Executive Orders. The MTD has worked towards developing and expanding the Maritime Highway to alleviate the nation’s distribution crises. And we are on the verge of bringing to life what will essentially become the United States Navy 5th Naval Repair Shipyard and depot in Lorain and Lordstown, Ohio. This public-private partnership between business, government, and labor will develop up to 5000 good-paying union construction and metal trades jobs to these two areas on the great lakes. Locations that have never fully recovered after experiencing devastating economic losses dictated by the global economy.
Mike Petters, President and CEO of Huntington Ingalls Industries joined the Summit via Zoom and discussed his philosophy on creating labor-management partnerships that work.
Petters told the audience, the four points that he believes every worker wants:
First, clear expectations. The worker wants to know what you want them to do.
Second, employees want and need feedback. They need to know how they are doing.
Third, both the employer and employee should ask: ‘can I do this better?’
And finally, the employee has a right to know that the employer will treat them fairly.
“When you take all of those points into consideration, what you will see is an employer expecting engagement from the workforce and an expectation that management will work with the employees.”
IAMAW General President Bob Martinez discussed the $768 billion National Defense Authorization Act and his union’s efforts to ensure that IAM-built, and Metal Trades built programs were included in the legislation.
“This act will go a long way to ensuring our members and their families have a stable future. The legislation will also provide much-needed wage increases for our military men and women while expanding their healthcare benefits, parental leave, and in-home child care.”
Newly elected International Chemical Workers Union General President, Lance Heasley introduced himself to the attendees. Heasley talked about his leadership style and his unique rise to take the helm at the union.
Raised in a union family in a heavily unionized community he knew the importance of union membership. When he had the opportunity to join the union he took it. Heasley later joined the staff at the International as an organizer.
“I never held office at the International prior to becoming President,” said Heasley. “Why would they nominate and elect me to hold office? They did it because I had successfully organized 26 NLRB elections in six years.”
His prolific organizing became “like an addiction.”
Heasley said one of his goals is to educate his membership and union members in general. “We don’t do a good enough job of telling our membership what we’ve done. We should be pounding our chest and taking credit for our wins.”
He also advocated for working together more across the labor movement for the good of all working families.
Ken Rueter, President and CEO of UCOR presented ‘Leading through Change and Challenges’.
Rueter discussed how the Metal Trades partnership with UCOR has created extraordinary and unprecedented outcomes. “We have seen a 40 percent increase in Metal Trades jobs in Oakridge. We have secured a new 15 years contract with the DOE. And we have created an atmosphere where everyone wins.”
Calling it ‘shared governance,’ Rueter says the partnership with MTD and the Atomic Trades Council has increased safety and quality, enhanced communication, empowered the workforce and increased job satisfaction.
Captain Ed Bartlett introduced the Bartlett Maritime Plan to create the 5th Naval Repair Shipyard under a public-private partnership in Ohio.
Bartlett discussed his vision for the new shipyard and his history of labor relationships. The Metal Trades Department and Bartlett Maritime have signed a cooperation agreement to help facilitate the plan.
Stressing that his plan “is about collaboration not competition” Bartlett assured attendees and presenters that they want to complement the existing work and not take anything away from current yards.
VADM Galinis, Commander, Naval Sea Systems Command talked about the state of the U.S. Navy’s shipbuilding.
“It is an amazing scope of work and we can’t do it without the trades,” said Galinis.
Galinis specifically pointed out the immense amount of work being done at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
Further he discussed the long range plans for infrastructure and advancement at the Navy’s four shipyards.
Closing out the day, the Guide Dogs of America-Tender Loving Canines, the MTD charity of choice, spoke to attendees about the work that they do for the blind and visually impaired and how they now provide service dogs for veterans and children with autism. Russ Gittlen, joined by one of the GDA-TLC breeder pups, Bailey, shared updates on the organizations campus renovations and expansion of services that have taken place since we were last able to hear from them, pre-COVID.
Breakout Workshops Focus on Administration and Federal Wage Survey Preparations
On Tuesday, attendees were broken out into federal and private council workshops. The federal councils discussed the upcoming federal wage survey and created a Prevailing Wage Task Force. Working with MTD General Counsel Keith Bolek, and sharing their research and experiences, the federal workshop attendees created a plan and set forth an agenda for moving forward.
Members from our private sector councils spent the day reviewing administrative duties and responsibilities for council officers. Bolek also addressed the workgroup, covering their legal obligations as union officers. Key International Union representatives Tom Fischbach, SMART; Paul Oconnor, IBEW; and Craig Norman, IAMAW, gave presentations on grievance and arbitration handling, Strengthening the Civil Service Reform Act, and building a strong and diverse union.