The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, February 03, 2012


By The Building Tradesman

MSU’s FRIB gets wait and see approach

Michigan State University isn’t fretting the future of the FRIB – yet.

 MSU – and the building trades – got a bit of a scare last month when Secretary of Energy Steven Chu seemed to call into question the federal commitment to the $615 million Facility of Rare Isotope Beams project. Work has already begun on campus to make way for the FRIB, which will allow scientists to study rare and fleeting atomic nuclei and matter.

Chu told the Detroit Economic Club: “If you look at all the things we're doing ... and you look at what we think we can afford in a budget projection given our deficit, we are saying ‘Well, we have to be very careful, because we can't be starting six things and we can only afford four things.’ ”

 MSU President Lou Anna Simon said the next day she would have preferred a more “definitive answer” about the future of the FRIB. And on Jan. 25, the university’s point person for the FRIB talked to an audience and “did not sound overly discouraged” with Secretary Chu’s remarks,” according to a building trades representative in attendance. So, at this time, no news is good news on the FRIB’s future.

AFL-CIO rolls out ad campaign

WASHINGTON (PAI) – The AFL-CIO has launched a multi-million dollar television advertising campaign, again telling the rest of the country that union workers are just like everyone else – and that they deserve their rights.

The ads first aired in Austin, Texas and Pittsburgh, with the next stop in Portland, Ore.   The AFL-CIO declined to answer questions about the campaign’s cost or how widespread it would be, but one news story pegged the initial ad buy at $1.5 million.

Federation Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler, who unveiled the ads, said they are meant to rise above the daily controversies of the political world and show the connections of unions and unionists to the world of work – and how workers benefit from unionization.

"This campaign showcases the values that America's unions share with all working people: Hard work, quality work, and how every one of us is connected," she elaborated.

The ads feature workers from a wide range of occupations.  The ads are accompanied by messages over social media, online advertising and an interactive website,

The ad campaign also emphasizes the divide between the 99% and the richest 1% of the population and emphasizes the decline of the middle class – while laying that development at the feet of the rich.   The ads also refer to the new activism in the labor movement in response to Big Business-Right Wing-GOP schemes to rob workers of their rights and their livelihoods.

The ads’ punch line, in English and Spanish, is: “As work changes, we change with it.  Work doesn’t separate.  It’s what binds us together.  I teach your kid, you fix my car, he builds my city, she keeps it safe…work.”