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LiUNA’s Statement On International Workers Day

Washington, D.C. (May 1, 2017) – Terry O’Sullivan, General President of LIUNA, the Laborers’ International Union of North America, today made the following statement on International Workers’ Day:

As we mark the May Day Holiday, it is time to reflect on the struggles that gave birth to the Labor movement and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the battle for dignity and justice while also re-dedicating ourselves to win justice and basic rights for all workers.

The Haymarket Uprising in May of 1886 in Chicago was a turning point in the Labor movement and in our nation; marking a point when workers of all creeds united together as one to win their rightful place in our society.   On that fateful day in Haymarket Square some workers and police were tragically killed in the violence and chaos.

Workers stood fearless and united against tyranny and greed to win better working conditions.  Many of the men and women who gathered in the square that day were immigrant workers. They came to America filled with hope and eager for opportunity. And, once here they fought for a better, safer, more dignified way of life.

Today, an increasing number of workers in America are just like those of Haymarket, whether immigrants who are here seeking a better life or native workers who are struggling just to hold on.

Then as now, workers face the same greed and immorality. And, the most vulnerable workers, immigrants, often find themselves targeted with the most vicious abuses of their rights as workers. And, it is the politicians and their special interest backers who have failed to fix our flawed immigration system, who are answerable for the pain and hardship they are wreaking not only on America’s newest immigrants but on all working people; for in denying any class of people their basic rights and subjecting them to exploitative conditions, it is an injury to all.

LIUNA has been a tireless advocate for fair and just comprehensive immigration and we will continue that fight; recommitting ourselves to a movement that never backs up and never backs down in the fight for civil rights, human rights, workers’ rights and union rights.

TEA Party Rep, Steve King Pushes A National Right To Work Bill And Repeal Of Davis Bacon

Labor unions respond to Rep King’s introduction of a National Right to Work (for less) law and a full repeal of the Davis Bacon Act that ensures a prevailing wage on all federal projects.

Once again TEA Party Representative, Steve King (R-IOWA) introduced a national Right to Work bill in Congress.

“So-called right-to-work has done enough harm to working people in the states where it is law. Forcing it upon every state in the country would be a national disaster,” said Robert Martinez, Jr., International President of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM).

“Right to work is a lie dressed up in a feel-good slogan. It doesn’t give workers freedom—instead, it weakens our right to join together and bargain for better wages and working conditions. Its end goal is to destroy unions,” said Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO. “Numbers don’t lie. Workers in states with right to work laws have wages that are 12% lower. That’s because unions raise wages for all workers, not just our members. Its end goal is to destroy unions.”

“Right to work isn’t the will of the people, it’s legislation pushed on working people by out-of-touch corporations that want to ship jobs overseas, cut health and safety protections, and pay lower wages,” added Trumka.

“In introducing so-called “right to work” legislation, Republicans in Congress didn’t waste any time doing the bidding of corporate interests who have plotted for years to weaken the collective bargaining rights of working people,” wrote the Communication Workers of America. “Right to work doesn’t create jobs. It doesn’t improve economic development. It does result in lower wages – 3.1 percent lower, according to the Economic Policy Institute –and fewer benefits for working people. It weakens workers’ ability to join together and bargain collectively with their employer.”

To add further insult to working people, Rep King, and fellow TEA Partier, Senator Mike Lee, re-introduced a repeal of the Davis-Bacon Act.

The Davis-Bacon Act set a prevailing wage that must be met on all federal projects. Prevailing wages are set by regions to ensure that workers in the local area of the project are paid a wage comparable to other workers in their area.

“The introduction of national so-called “right to work” and anti-Davis Bacon legislation is a bid to further shrink opportunities for working class Americans and their families,” said Terry O’Sullivan, General President of the Laborers International Union of North America (LiUNA). “These pieces of legislation are a deceptive politically-motivated trick to deny millions of American workers the freedom to join together in a union for mutual benefit and to earn a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.”

“The bill to repeal the Davis-Bacon Act is a severe attack on the wages and living standards of millions of blue-collar workers and on taxpayers who expect quality construction work on public projects. For generations the Davis-Bacon Act has helped to prevent government projects from driving down wages and help to attract skilled, trained workers, and has given taxpayers the best deal for their money,” added O’Sullivan.

As the Koch Brothers and their political organization, the Americans For Prosperity, push Right to Work at the state level, this new federal bill is just another ideological partisan attack on working people.

“The political motives for right-to-work laws are clear: transfer even more money and power to corporate elites who don’t give a damn about the middle class,” said IAM President Martinez. “November’s election should have made this clear to the political class—American workers are sick and tired of having their wages slashed, and all too often, their jobs shipped overseas. Taking away their right to a strong voice at the bargaining table will hurt the same people Congress is supposed to represent.

“Working people were loud and clear in this past election. We want an economy that works for all, not just corporations. We know we need to rewrite the rules of the economy so that policies like bad trade deals and right to work aren’t the new norm. President Trump has said he supports unions and the people who are our members. He has stood up to corporate Republicans on trade. We call on him to do the same on right to work, and to stand up for every worker’s right to join a union,” Trumka added.

AFL-CIO, LiUNA, CWA and IAM all agree that Congress should once again reject the passage of so-called Right to Work legislation and oppose the repeal of the Davis-Bacon Act.

LIUNA On Historic Nomination: She’s With Us and We’re With Her!

LIUNA Members Fired Up, Energized to Elect Secretary Hillary Clinton as the Next President of the United States

Washington, D.C. (June 8, 2016) – Terry O’Sullivan, General President of LIUNA – the Laborers’ International Union of North America – made the following statement now that Secretary Clinton is the Democratic nominee for President:

With Tuesday’s results, Secretary Hillary Clinton has both secured the Democratic Party’s nomination for President and her place as a trailblazer in the history of this nation. Her nomination and future Presidency will be a legacy for the next generation that builds on the promise and values this nation was founded on.

On behalf of the LIUNA General Executive Board and the half-million hard-working men and women of LIUNA, we couldn’t be more proud to support the first woman to have ever won the Democratic nomination and we couldn’t be more determined to help her win this election.

For LIUNA members, “She’s with us” and “we’re with her” aren’t just catchy phrases. We’re with her because not only is she an extraordinary woman but she is the candidate whose record, experience, ideals, and policies will strengthen and safeguard our nation.

We share Hillary Clinton’s vision of a strong, proud, and united nation where hard work is rewarded and everyone has the opportunity to share in economic prosperity and to experience the American dream.

LIUNA members turned out by the thousands at events across the nation to help make this nomination possible and are fired up, energized, and mobilized to work tirelessly to make history again in November.

The half-million members of LIUNA – the Laborers’ International Union of North America – are on the forefront of the construction industry, a powerhouse of workers who are proud to build America.

America Deserves A-Plus Infrastructure, Not Near Failing Grades

‘Long-Term Infrastructure Investment Can Create the Family-Supporting Jobs Our Nation Needs’

(Terry O'Sullivan is the General President of the Laborers International Union of North America - LiUNA)

(Terry O’Sullivan is the General President of the Laborers International Union of North America – LiUNA)

Washington, D.C. (May 18, 2016) – America deserves an A-plus infrastructure, not one with near failing grades, LIUNA General President Terry O’Sullivan told a news media briefing today as part of Infrastructure Week.

O’Sullivan was speaking on behalf of the half-million working men and women of LIUNA – the Laborers’ International Union of North America – who predominantly work in the construction industry, building and maintaining the nation’s transportation, energy and water resources infrastructure.

“Investing what is needed in our infrastructure is crucial to our safety and economic competitiveness,” O’Sullivan said. “And, it goes beyond abstract policies: It’s about good-paying, family-supporting jobs that provide a ladder to the middle class and can’t be exported abroad.”

LIUNA is a long-time advocate for greater infrastructure investment. The union is a participant in Infrastructure Week, which brings together a diverse coalition of unions, employers, business associations, and non-profit research and advocacy groups.

While once No. 1 in the world in its infrastructure, the United States has fallen to No. 11, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers.

“For those of us in the Building Trades, investment in a strong, robust and expanded 21st century infrastructure is about leaving a legacy for future generations,” said O’Sullivan. “The alternative is allowing our infrastructure to crumble around us – strangling our economy, worsening our lives, and endangering us all.”

LIUNA has launched high-impact public outreach efforts in the past – including billboards warning motorists of deficient bridges, a 10-foot roll of duct-tape on a flatbed truck to highlight inaction on infrastructure and a school bus which traveled the country crushed by a fallen bridge prop.

“As the men and women who work every day to build America, we will continue to fight for Congress and all elected officials to invest until we have the first-class, A-plus infrastructure we so desperately need,” O’Sullivan said.

LiUNA Members Volunteer In Ecuador Relief Effort

LIUNA BannerLIUNA Joins Ecuador Relief Efforts with Volunteer Team and Donations 

Washington, D.C.  – LIUNA Local Unions in the United States and Canada are working to collect donations and support relief efforts in Ecuador following the devastating earthquakes, which left hundreds dead and thousands missing.  A disaster relief team of twenty LIUNA Local 78 members and a six-person technical assessment team from Local 79 are now in Ecuador assisting in assessment, clean up, and recovery efforts. LIUNA Locals 78 and 79,  which represent construction workers in New York with specialized training in structural assessments, demolition and hazardous materials remediation, are providing skilled assistance on the ground in Ecuador removing debris, remediating dangerous substances, searching for survivors, and setting up temporary housing. The Ontario Provincial District Council and LIUNA Local 183, based in Toronto, Canada, are making financial donations to the relief effort and Local 183 is sponsoring an event to collect donations for victims in Ecuador this Sunday afternoon.

LiUNA Members travel to ecuador“On behalf of the half-million men and women of LIUNA and our entire General Executive Board, I want to express our heartfelt sympathy and condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims in Ecuador. We hope that our volunteer team and donations can bring some measure of relief to the survivors,” said LIUNA General President Terry O’Sullivan.  

The blue LIUNA flag with our seal inscribed with “Justice, Honor, and Strength” (pictured right) is now proudly being flown in Ecuador as LIUNA volunteers work tirelessly to help restore communities affected by the disaster.

LIUNA Local 78 is serving as a hub for the collection of donations of food, water, tents, and toiletries for survivors. Donations are being accepted at the Local 78 office which is located at 11-17 43rd Avenue in Long Island City, NY 11101, Monday through Friday from 7 am to 9 pm.  In addition, to the volunteer team’s efforts and contributions being collected at the Local, members of Local 78 have also pledged a donation of $23,000 to the relief fund. 

LIUNA Local 79, which has partnered with disaster-response agency, HEART 9/11, is working with local government officials in Ecuador and private sector firms to assess needs and will be returning with a larger team to assist in rebuilding infrastructure damaged by the earthquakes.  Local 79 has a track record of providing skilled assistance during disasters; making three separate trips to assist the people of Haiti in the wake of the earthquake which devastated the country in 2010.

Both the Ontario Provincial District Council and LIUNA Local 183 will be making a contribution to relief efforts. In addition, Local 183 will be hosting an event to collect donations for victims of the disaster in Ecuador on Sunday, May 1, from noon to 10 p.m., at LIUNA Local 183, 1263 Wilson Ave., Gerry Gallagher Hall.  The event titled, Toronto Gets Moving for Ecuador, will feature various artistic acts, including the Cuban pianist Hilario Duran and the Nicaraguan stand-up comic Martha Chaves from the Yuk Yuk’s roster, along with dozens of singers and dancers.

LIUNA was proudly founded by immigrants in 1903 and continues to this day to represent members of many different ethnicities; including many thousands of members of Ecuadorian descent.

“Our union is, and always has been, and always will be, a family. The generosity and support from Ray Pocino, LIUNA Vice President and Eastern Regional Manager, Joe Mancinelli, LIUNA Vice President and Central/Eastern Canada Regional Manager, Edison Severino, Business Manager of Local 78, Mike Prohaska, Business Manager of Local 79, Jack Oliveira, Business Manager of the Ontario Provincial District Council, and the disaster relief teams, should be commended,” said O’Sullivan. 

Terry O’Sullivan: The Cost of Going to Work Should Never Be Death or Injury

(Terry O'Sullivan is the General President of the Laborers International Union of North America - LiUNA)

(Terry O’Sullivan is the General President of the Laborers International Union of North America – LiUNA)

As the April 28th Workers Memorial Day commemoration approaches, we can proudly highlight what we can accomplish when we have the best training programs and the right safety regulations in place.

Nationwide, workplace deaths and injuries have trended dramatically downward. For example, in 1970, 38 workers died from workplace-related causes each day. In 2014, the most recent statistic available, that number fell to 13. Workplace-related illnesses and injuries have fallen as well, from 10.9 incidents for every 100 workers to 3.2 incidents per 100 workers.

It’s good news, but not good enough. Despite our progress, the fact remains that 750 workers are expected to lose their lives this year on construction jobsites. Injuries resulting in lost work time are expected to number 75,000.

Let’s honor the brothers and sisters we have lost by commemorating Workers Memorial Day and saying loudly and clearly that the cost of going to work each day should never be death or injury on the job. I invite every LIUNA member to help send this message by joining a week-long conversation about safety for workers on LIUNA’s Facebook page starting on April 25.

As union workers, we know that with the proper safety training, effective temp-post-imagesafety programs on jobsites and a workforce free to speak out about hazards, most deaths and injuries are preventable. That’s why we make training and safety programs a cornerstone of union construction sites. In fact, according to a University of Michigan study, states with high union membership have construction fatality rates 50 percent lower than states with low union membership.

We still have work to do to reduce risks ranging from traffic hazards in highway work zones, to the lack of fall prevention on building construction sites, to inadequate safety equipment to prevent illnesses that are all too common in our industry.

As we approach Workers Memorial Day, let’s build on our accomplishments and fight for safe jobs so that every worker returns safely home at the end of a workday.

Learn more at www.liuna.org/tmo

Bipartisan Senate Energy Bill Will Strengthen Economy and Unlock Good Jobs and Clean Energy

 Washington, D.C.  – Terry O’Sullivan, General President of LIUNA – the Laborers’ International Union of North America – made the following statement today on Senate passage of S. 2012, The Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2012 crafted by Senators Shaheen (D-New Hampshire), Portman (R-Ohio), Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Cantwell (D-Washington):

“On behalf of the 500,000 members of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, I commend the Senate on their bipartisan vote (85-12) in favor for much needed energy legislation that will strengthen our economy and unlock good jobs and clean energy.

The bill streamlines the process for construction of pipelines on federal land and the natural gas export permit application process, which will help position the United States to lead globally as a clean energy super power, bring affordable energy to U.S. consumers, and create good jobs. It will also increase investment in renewable energies such as wind, solar, and hydropower and amend the Federal Power Act to encourage hydropower development by extending the total period for preliminary permits.

The bill has important provisions to incentivize energy efficiency for new state and commercial building construction; including a requirement that the Department of Energy work closely with manufacturers to invest in the research, development and commercialization of updated energy efficient technologies.

Senate Bill 2012 also addresses critical gaps in America’s nuclear energy research and production. LIUNA strongly believes that nuclear energy is not only integral to a clean energy economy, but it provides good jobs for workers across the country.

LIUNA urges the Senate and House to work together so that this bill can be conferenced and presented to the President and become law.” 

LiUNA Says Friedrichs vs CTA Is A Direct Assault On Collective Bargaining Rights

LIUNA - The Laborers' International Union of North America

LIUNA – The Laborers’ International Union of North America

This suit is a direct assault on the collective bargaining rights that have enabled generations of workers to organize for better wages, benefits, and working conditions.” 

Washington, DC – Terry O’Sullivan, General President of LIUNA (the Laborers’ International Union of North America) today made the following statement regarding the oral arguments in the Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association case:

Monday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the Friedrichs case, which will affect not only workers in the public sector, but the entire labor movement.  The anti-union, anti-worker billionaires backing this suit are trying to destroy unions and make it impossible for working people to come together, speak up for each other, and bargain collectively.  An anti-union decision in the Friedrichs case would do far more than upend 40 years of legal precedent; it would put prosperity and the American dream further out of reach for millions of hard working men and women.  Make no mistake: this suit is a direct assault on the collective bargaining rights that have enabled generations of workers to organize for better wages, benefits, and working conditions.

As the proud representative of tens of thousands of dedicated, hard-working public employees, LIUNA stands in solidarity with our brothers and sisters throughout the public sector as they face the Friedrich case’s assault on their fundamental rights. 

The very fact that an adverse decision in a single Supreme Court case could have such a devastating impact on millions of working men and women highlights the importance of the 2016 Presidential election.  Supreme Court appointees are a President’s longest lasting legacy, making critical decisions in cases that affect millions of people for decades after a President has left office.  With several spots on the Supreme Court expected to open up in the next few years, working men and women need someone in the White House who will appoint Justices ready to defend the right to organize.  That is why LIUNA has endorsed Hillary Clinton for President, and why we will work hard to help her win in November.  

The half-million members of LIUNA – the Laborers’ International Union of North America – are on the forefront of the construction industry, a powerhouse of workers who are proud to build America.

LiUNA Praises Passage Of Omnibus Spending Bill

“Congress has displayed a great example of true bipartisanship…. Let’s hope this spirit of patriotic teamwork continues into the New Year.”  

Washington, DC – Terry O’Sullivan, General President of LIUNA (the Laborers’ International Union of North America) today made the following statement regarding Congress’ passage of the Fiscal Year 2016 Omnibus Appropriations Act: 

On behalf of the 500,000 strong, proud, and united men and women of LIUNA, I want to commend and congratulate Senators and Representatives of both political parties for rolling up their sleeves and passing the Fiscal Year 2016 Omnibus Appropriations Act.  We are particularly pleased that Congress chose to include five important provisions in the bill: postponing implementation of the ACA’s so-called “Cadillac Tax”; reauthorizing the James Zadroga Act to help the heroes and victims of 9/11; lifting the oil export ban; extending solar and wind tax credits; and giving federal employees and military personnel a pay raise. 

Congress has shown bipartisan courage in voting to postpone implementation of the Affordable Care Act’s so-called “Cadillac Tax” for two years.  LIUNA is just one of many labor, employer, health policy, and other groups opposed to this indefensible, misguided, and regressive 40-percent middle-class excise tax.  Congressional action, while not the hoped-for outright repeal, is a big step in the right direction, and signals a recognition that the tax is deeply flawed.  We hope that in the additional two years provided by this delay, Congress and the next President will, once and for all, repeal the deceptively named “Cadillac Tax.” 

Reauthorizing the James Zadroga Act is a fitting tribute to those who were victims of, and responded to, the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.  The bill enables the World Trade Center Health Program to provide services for injured and ill 9/11 responders and survivors for the rest of their lives, and extends the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund for five more years with additional funding.  LIUNA commends the bipartisanship that Congress has shown in the enactment of this important legislation.  LIUNA will always be proud that our members worked side-by-side with emergency personnel, and our brothers and sisters from other construction crafts, sifting through a toxic mix of debris to recover and clean up the Ground Zero site.  These heroes’ selfless devotion to that job cost many of them their health, and, tragically, some of them their lives. 

Lifting the outdated, obsolete, 40-year-old ban on U.S. oil exports is a smart, common-sense move that will help strengthen America’s position as one of the world’s leading energy producers.  This provision will open new markets to producers; benefit national security, the economy, and consumers; and unlock hundreds of thousands of good, middle-class jobs in the oil industry for LIUNA members and others.   

Congress extended Investment Tax Credits and Production Tax Credits for wind and solar.  This critical component of a practical, realistic, all-of-the-above energy strategy will give both sectors the certainty they need to plan future projects, and put LIUNA members to work.  LIUNA is proud to represent safe, skilled, responsible construction and maintenance workers in every sector of the energy industry, from oil and gas, to solar and wind, to nuclear and hydropower. 

Finally, Congress ended a three-year federal pay freeze by approving the President’s requested package of well-deserved cost-of-living pay increases for civilian federal employees and military personnel.  Although not enough to keep pace with 3 years’ worth of inflation, these increases are a long-overdue step in the right direction, and we hope that they will be followed by additional pay bumps. LIUNA is proud to count among our members many federal civilian and dual-status employees. 

Today Congress has displayed a great example of true bipartisanship: the leaders of our country coming together, resolving their differences, and getting the important work of governing done.  Let’s hope this spirit of patriotic teamwork continues into the New Year, as Congress grapples with a wide range of other important issues. 


The half-million members of LIUNA – the Laborers’ International Union of North America – are on the forefront of the construction industry, a powerhouse of workers who are proud to build America.

LiUNA President O’Sullivan: “Trudeau Victory Is the Dawning of a New Day in Canada”

LIUNA Banner

Washington, DC: Terry O’Sullivan, General President of LIUNA (the Laborers’ International Union of North America) made the following statement today about the victory of Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party in Canada’s federal elections.

On behalf of myself, LIUNA General Secretary-Treasurer Armand E. Sabitoni, and the entire LIUNA General Executive Board, I congratulate Justin Trudeau and Canada’s Liberal Party on their decisive victory in Canada’s federal elections.  I also want to commend LIUNA Vice President and Central and Eastern Canada Regional Manager Joe Mancinelli, LIUNA Western Canada Sub-Regional Manager Mark Olsen, and all the LIUNA leaders and members throughout the great nation of Canada for an incredible job in helping to bring about this historic victory.

The Liberal Party and Justin Trudeau’s victory is the dawning of a new day in Canada, not only for the proud men and women of LIUNA, but for all the great people of Canada.  After nine years of an anti-worker, anti-union federal government, the Canadian people overwhelmingly chose Liberal candidates for Parliament, signaling that they have had enough of the repressive and regressive policies of Stephen Harper and the Conservatives.  The majority of Canadians clearly believe that the Liberals and Trudeau are not only ready, but willing and able to lead Canada into a brighter, more economically just future.

Time and again, Justin Trudeau has proven himself to be a true friend of LIUNA and all working men and women.  He is a leader of great vision, principle, and character who will light a beacon of hope and opportunity for the people of Canada.  LIUNA looks forward to working with him and the new Liberal government to take Canada into a future of shared prosperity for all Canadians.

The half-million members of LIUNA – the Laborers’ International Union of North America – are on the forefront of the construction industry, a powerhouse of workers who are proud to build America.

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