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Building Trades Prez: “Ours is a story that even conservatives should love, and many do.”

Sean McGarvey The Hill op-ed

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With partisan politics again set to rear its ugly head this election year, Sean McGarvey, President of the Building and Construction Trades Department of the AFL-CIO, has a message to make Queen Latifah proud: U-N-I-T-Y, that spells unity. McGarvey’s The Hill op-ed highlights the ways his organization’s unions have grown from having a “more cooperative attitude in the workplace” to reaching out to both parties for support of sensible policies that benefit labor and business:

North America’s Building Trades Unions have embraced a successful operational model that is premised upon a non-partisan approach to politics coupled with engagement, cooperation and partnership with individual companies, entire industries, government entities and community organizations; all of which are leading to economic growth and individual opportunity.

The success of this operational model has led to the establishment of system-wide contractual agreements with, among others, companies like Exelon, Entergy, Detroit Edison, Toyota, Tennessee Valley Authority, and The Walt Disney Company.  

In addition, we have cultivated formal partnerships with the pharmaceutical industry and the petroleum industry; and we have developed solid, mutually beneficial working relationships with the nuclear industry, the power generation industry, the petro-chemical industry and the natural gas industry, at both the state and local level.  

McGarvey touts the operational model of the building trades union as a primary factor in its membership increasing in 2013.  He argues that the quality of the union product is what allows for bipartisan support of the Building Trades.  

The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that in 2013 our unions collectively expanded their ranks by almost 100,000 new members.  Excluding residential construction, our unions now account for roughly 40 percent of the commercial, heavy, highway and industrial construction markets in the U.S., and we are poised for dramatic growth over the next 10-15 years.

Ours is a story that even conservatives should love, and many actually do.  Throughout our history, our non-partisan approach to politics has resulted in the consistent support of many Republican members of Congress, as well as governors, state legislators, mayors, and county commissioners.  In fact, during the 2012 election cycle, North America’s Building Trades Unions were, collectively, the third largest contributor to GOP federal candidates.

In the construction industry today, discriminating buyers of services are looking for value; as are governmental and community leaders interested in expanding the middle class.  

Whether industry or labor; Republican or Democrat; liberal or conservative, the operational model of North America’s Building Trades Unions is becoming increasingly appealing because of one simple concept:  it is centered upon the competitive delivery of measurable value for all parties involved.

Read the entire op-ed here.


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