Over the many years I have spent in this industry there have been challenges faced and overcome. COVID-19 is unlike any threat that we have faced. Chances are pretty good that someone you know, a friend or loved one, will be affected in some way by this virus. We at Local 11 will keep you informed, to the best of our ability, through our website, email blasts and mailings.
Another challenge that we must face is Brotherhood. As I tried to find a good definition to put in this spot of my report, a definition that fully explained our use of the word, I came to several realizations. We may not be practicing what we preach. I grew up in southern Louisiana in the 1960s. Racism was a way of life. I think it is fair to say that people like to be with people that are like them. Taken to the extreme led to race riots and America trying to come to grips with who and what we were. Fast forward to today. Unlike many industries in America, our Collective Bargaining Agreement ensures that the contractor be both color blind and gender neutral. This is a great thing in a country where females and minorities are compensated at a lower rate than the white male in most industries. The subtleties of racism are like a self-inflicted wound. Many members have talked with me about taking a call and arriving on the job only to realize that no one there “looked like them,” and they knew that this would be a short call. Brotherhood means that we, as members of that brotherhood, are color blind and gender neutral. I should be able to go onto a jobsite and see a representation of every ethnic group that makes up this great state in which we live. If you are in the leadership of the company that you work for, meaning a Foreman or higher, it is up to you to make that difference. The politics of the day tears at each of us creating the divisions that lead us down a dark path; shine a light on the divisions within your workplace and be a part of the solution.
Work Safe, Play Hard,