The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, June 22, 2012


By The Building Tradesman

Michigan GOP puts hold on RTW

LANSING – The lead Republican in the state House pushing a right-to-work bill in Michigan told MIRS News Service on June 8 that the issue would be put on the shelf until after the Nov. 6 election.

The reason: the GOP wants to wait to see whether voters will approve the measure on the Nov. 6 statewide ballot. The Protect Our Jobs petition effort and ballot measure (see article at right) will ask voters to approve sweeping changes to the state’s Constitution. Those changes would effectively enshrine collective bargaining rights in the state Constitution, and halt past, present and future efforts to take away those rights – which a right-to-work law would do.

“We pushed the pause button on our Right to Work effort in order to defeat that ballot initiative,” state Rep. Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) told MIRS. “There is no reason for us to spend energy and time on passing a RTW law today if it’s going to be overturned by a ballot initiative. So we need to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

Earlier this year, Indiana Republicans voted to make the Hoosier state the nation’s 23rd right-to-work state. Right-to-work laws allow workers in a bargaining unit to opt out of paying union dues – becoming “free riders” – while still enjoying the benefits of union representation.

Building trades pick Laborer as No. 2

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Brent Booker, a third generation Laborer who most recently served as the Director of the Construction Department at the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA), was today unanimously elected June 7 by the Building and Construction Trades Department’s Governing Board of Presidents to serve as the Secretary-Treasurer.

Booker succeeds Sean McGarvey, who was elected President of the Department on April 16, 2012. McGarvey’s election was necessitated by the unexpected passing of Mark H. Ayers on April 8, 2012.

“Brent Booker knows what it takes for our unions to succeed in today’s marketplace,” said Sean McGarvey.   “He has proven beyond any doubt that he possesses the proper intellect, instincts and vision that are necessary to further establish our unions as preeminent, value-added partners to construction owners in both the public and private sectors.”

A graduate of the University of Virginia, Booker is a member of Laborers’ Local 795 in New Albany, Indiana and has worked at LIUNA Headquarters since February, 2001. In his capacity as the Director of the Construction Department, Booker has been responsible for the administration and negotiation of all National Agreements, including the National Pipeline Agreement with the Pipe Line Contractors Association.

“I am excited and anxious to be joining the Department,” said Booker, “and working with President McGarvey and all of our affiliated unions to further embrace a 21st Century commitment to excellence that is centered upon a business model devoted to delivering ‘Value on Display, Every Day.”