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Building & Construction Trades Department

Value On Display. Every Day.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

President's Message


The 2016 Election Was About the Interests of Working-Class Americans

Without question, the most widely discussed by-product of the 2016 election cycle was the measure of strength that Donald J. Trump enjoyed among blue-collar, working-class Americans, including a sizable number of building trades and other rank and file union members.

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Labor Day 2016 Message

Labor Day 2016 is an important milestone.   In just two short months from now, Americans will go to the polls to elect our next President.   And the stakes in this election could not be higher.

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America’s Energy Infrastructure – It’s Where the Good-Paying Jobs Are

The United States is the world’s largest economy. Yet, in the last two decades, our national economic growth rate has been declining.

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It's Time to Re-Build, Re-Train, and Rejuvenate America

Infrastructure Investments tied to skilled craft training opportunities are a recipe for success.

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The Most Important Aspect of Apprenticeship Programs?

They change lives.

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It's National Apprenticeship Week - And Nobody Does It Like North America's Building Trades Unions

Commemorating the first annual "National Apprenticeship Week." 

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Unions Are Still a Vital Force in the American Economy

This column appeared as an Op-Ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer on September 7, 2015

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Value@Work: Partnerships for Growth in North America

Keynote Address for the 69th Constitutional Convention of North America's Building Trades Unions

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Why The Disdain for American Blue Collar Workers?

American political and media elites and their disdain for blue-collar workers.

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Memorial Day Message 2015

As we take time to gather with family and friends at barbeques, parks, and beaches to celebrate Memorial Day, I would ask each and every one of us to take a moment this weekend to remember why it is that we have this national holiday.

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A Holiday Message

At this time of year, it is all too easy and commonplace, what with all the parties, presents, families, friends and celebrations, to lose sight of what the Holiday Season is truly all about.

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George Meany Comes Home

George Meany sculpture, and his legacy, comes home to AFL-CIO headquarters

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America’s Future, and it's Economy, is Crumbling Under Our Feet

Investing in the repair and modernization of America's infrastructure is one of the most critical issues of our time.

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Providing Value & Creating Opportunity: A Labor-Industry Success Story

Today in America, we find ourselves at the convergence of several critical policy challenges that together are having an impact on the American economy and our collective interest in ensuring an expanding Middle Class.

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Black History Month: Helping to Change the Paradigm of African American Economics

Much has changed for African-Americans since the 1963 March on Washington (which, to recall, was a march for “Jobs and Freedom”), but one thing hasn’t: The unemployment rate among blacks is about double that among whites, as it has been for most of the past six decades.

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Meet Pete Valadez Jr. – An 89 Year Old Cement Mason

Whenever we celebrate a particular heritage here in America - as we did from September 15 to October 15 with Hispanic  Heritage month - I always think it most compelling to embrace such celebrations through the lives, experiences and stories of individuals.

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Labor Day 2013 - Putting Country First

Like many national holidays, Labor Day continues to suffer from neglect.  Just as Memorial Day, has now suffered the misfortune of being reduced to merely signaling the start of summer, now Labor Day has become its seasonal bookend: Another empty three-day weekend, and an excuse for Back to School sales or a final summer barbecue. This loss of meaning, especially among our governing elite, represents a missed opportunity to re-energize our nation and reinforce the promise of America.

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Cementing Martin Luther King's Legacy 50 Years After "I Have a Dream"

This week will mark the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington, which drew a crowd of over 250,000 people and brought the Civil Rights Movement to the forefront of America's conscience.

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America Needs Skilled Craft Workers - Only the Union Construction Industry Has the Capacity to Train Them

It seems like everywhere you turn these days there is a discussion about America's growing need for skilled craft workers.

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On This Workers Memorial Day - Recognizing the Value of Safety

A message from BCTD President Sean McGarvey

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Black History Month

A Message from BCTD President Sean McGarvey

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A New Year Means New Opportunities for Union Construction

A New Year's Message from BCTD President Sean McGarvey

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The Election is Over - Now the Work Must Begin

A message from BCTD President Sean McGarvey

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The 2012 Elections

A message from BCTD President Sean McGarvey

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Labor Day 2012

A Message from BCTD President Sean McGarvey

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Answering the Call to Honor and Assist Our Nation's Veterans

Through a myriad of actions and programs, America's Building Trades Unions have maintained a rich history of honoring and assisting our nation's military veterans.  In fact, a significant percentage of the collective membership base of all building and construction trades unions is comprised of men and women who possess active duty and National Guard military experience.

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Time to End the Debate, says Building Trades President. Project Labor Agreements Work. Period.

Secretary/Treasurer of America's Building Trades Unions provides examples of why Project Labor Agreements in the construction industry continue to gain traction across the country and provide further evidence that the utilization of the skilled trades are an advantage for customers and a pathway to careers in construction.

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HR 3094 to block NLRB's Modest Rule Changes to Union Elections

The singular goal of this bill is to delay and ultimately prevent union representation elections. Its aim is to deny workers the opportunity for a voice at work.

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Unions in Construction Industry Deeply Disappointed with Keystone XL Pipeline Delay

Approval of this project by the Administration would have been a lifeline for thousands of American workers.  This delay may mean that the project will not go forward and thousands of jobs will be lost in the U.S. construction industry which continues to suffer unemployment rates approaching twice the national average.

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KY Gov Race a Win for America's Working Families

The resounding victory tonight by Kentucky's Democratic Governor Steve Beshear sends a compelling message to politicians all across the United States.

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For the 99%...Keystone = JOBS

Throughout America's Heartland, the Keystone Pipeline represents the prospect for 20,000 immediate jobs; and as many as 500,000 indirect jobs via a strong economic multiplier effect.

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Obama Jobs Plan - Mark Ayers Statement

A statement by BCTD President Mark Ayers following President Obama's Jobs Speech to Congress.

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President's Message - Blog Post

The Keystone Pipleline - Weighing Facts Versus Fiction

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Day 1 - AFL-CIO Executive Council Meetings

Today, various Executive Council Committees began to lay the framework for the future of organized labor in America.

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New ABC "Study" Misrepresents Cited Researcher's Findings on PLAs

The Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) today released a new study which purports to show that Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) dramatically increase the cost of school construction projects in the state of California.  The study, Measuring the Cost of Project Labor Agreements on School Construction in California (Vince Vasquez, Dr. Dale Glaser, and W. Erik Bruvold; 2011), was immediately called into question because the study's authors misrepresented the findings of another researcher they had cited.

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Criticism of Dulles Rail PLA is Off the Mark

The continuing and unfounded criticisms of the Dulles Rail extension Project Labor Agreement (PLA) by public officials in Virginia demonstrate an embarrassing lack of knowledge and familiarity with the project itself; the U.S. construction industry as it exists today; and more importantly the greater Washington DC construction market.

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Building a Better America...One Project at a Time

We convene this conference during what is arguably the most critical moment in history for America’s Building Trades Unions and for all of organized labor. Not only are we continuing to struggle against an enduring economic downturn that has devastated our ranks.

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A Travesty in Wisconsin

Under the cover of darkness, and at the urging of Governor Scott Walker, Republicans in the Wisconsin State Senate on March 9th exercised the nuclear option to ram through a bill attacking Wisconsin’s working families. These events, along with similar ones playing out in Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and a host of other states, have demonstrated that radical right-wing conservatives are intent to do or say anything to push through an extreme agenda that is nothing more than an outright attack on the sole entity left in American society that has the ability to "check and balance" their aspirations for complete economic and political power - America's labor unions.

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Congress Agrees: Community Standards Matter in the U.S. Construction Industry

In early morning hours of February 19, as the U.S. House of Representatives engaged in a marathon session to enact FY 2011 appropriations legislation that would keep the federal government operating this year, America’s Building Trades Unions secured two tremendous victories. Two separate amendments, one designed to repeal the Davis-Bacon Act and the other designed to deny funds for any federal PLA projects, were defeated with significant bipartisan support.

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The House Education and Workforce Committee – What’s in a Name?

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose…by any other name would smell as sweet." In other words, Shakespeare was implying that a name is simply an artificial and meaningless convention.

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50 Billion Reasons Why Project Labor Agreements Work

Ever since President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order encouraging the use of project labor agreement on federal construction projects, the Associated Builders and Contractors have ratcheted up their shrill and unfounded criticisms against what they say are “anti-competitive” government-mandated PLAs. In the ABC’s warped world, PLAs are nothing more than “special interest schemes” and “political payback” to America’s Building Trades Unions from politicians who may have received labor’s support.

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There is No Tomorrow…America Needs Job Growth Now!

By any objective measure, our national economy is not in recovery, but rather is still in serious trouble.  The latest July figures from the U.S. Department of Labor show that unemployment remains at a very high 9.5%, while in the construction industry the jobless rate continues to hover at or near 20% nationwide and many of the unemployed have been without a job for over 6 months.  The skilled construction workers who have built this great country are growing increasingly desperate, and yet, politicians of both parties and the mainstream media are ignoring their suffering.


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The 800 Pound Gorilla That Sits in the Middle of Arizona

The current firestorm that has erupted as a result of the enactment of the “Show Me Your Papers” law in Arizona has further enflamed the already contentious debate about illegal immigration.

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Wall Street Plays Political “Chicken”

Not a week goes by where I am not approached by a consortium or an individual corporation that has concrete plans for the construction of some type of major facility here in the United States.  In recent weeks, most of these proposals have centered on the construction of energy-related facilities (both traditional and renewable) here in the United States.  But, there have been many proposed manufacturing facilities as well.  And let me assure you, these are not “fly-by-night” organizations, either.  These are stable companies and, in many instances, reputable household names.

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Hey Tea-Baggers… Here’s Your Talking Point: Look No Further Than the Open Shop!

For the better part of a year now, we have witnessed the beginnings of what many political experts believe to be is an influential populist uprising in America.  Whether they are organized elements (e.g. “tea-baggers”) or some other type of loosely-organized movement, the defining feature seems to be an increasing disconnect between the problems and issues that confront Americans on a daily basis in their communities, and the misplaced priorities of our elected elite.  It is, I believe, a corrosive atmosphere that is undoubtedly gaining traction, attention and, most of all influence in American politics. 

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A Corrosive Culture Takes Its Toll

President Ayers reflects on unemployment during the holiday season, and moving forward within the Building Trades, and as a country.

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Exposing the ABC for Who They Really Are

Ever since I assumed the presidency of the Building and Construction Trades Department in October, 2007, I have been very aggressive in trying to get our unions focused on “stepping out of the box” to confront a plethora of challenges – most prominently the need to establish a new brand identity for union construction that is based upon pride, performance and professionalism. 

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So what, exactly, is Labor Day about anymore?

President Ayers reflects on what Labor Day is really about.

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America’s Energy Dilemma Requires a Sensible Transition

Last week, the United States House of Representatives passed H.R. 2454, The American Clean Energy Security Act of 2009 (ACES).  The act represents America’s first comprehensive attempt to build a new, clean energy economy. It will create millions of jobs, reduce our dangerous dependence on foreign sources of oil, and mitigate the threat of global warming.

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When It Comes to Making Sacrifices...It All Depends on the Color of Your Collar

The recent debates over the U.S. auto industry bail out and the controversy surrounding the bonus compensation being paid to AIG executives illustrates a glaring, and potentially damaging, disconnect in American society today. Namely, that when it comes to making sacrifices for the good of the American economy, it’s always the blue-collar American who is asked to do most of the sacrificing.

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Through Chaos and Crisis…Opportunities Abound

America is in the midst of a terrible economic slump. Every day brings more grim news about tens of thousands of American workers losing their jobs. Indeed, we are facing a crisis of epic proportions.

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The Path to a New Era of Success

For any organization or movement, there are pivotal moments in time that require immediate and distinct actions in order to shape one’s destiny. For America’s Building Trades Unions, we have arrived at that moment. And it is a moment that necessitates a practical imperative for positive and sustained action.

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The Dawn of a New Era in America

The true meaning underlying the overwhelming election of Senator Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States can be summed up in the senator’s own words, which were offered just minutes after he was the confirmed victor: "If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer."

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Change is Coming

October is that time of year when most of us begin to feel the sharp chill in the air that says that winter is just around the corner. For some folks, October represents the beginning of the end…the threshold to the end of another year.

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Labor Creates Wealth

As always, Labor Day is a time for reflection…and a time to reconnect with our heritage, and how the values and principles for which the American labor movement stands are sorely needed today.

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