The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, August 18, 2000

Sullivan stays on at building trades; vows aggressive organizing, political push

By The Building Tradesman

AFL-CIO Building Trades Department convention delegates unanimously elected Edward C. Sullivan as president and Joseph Maloney as secretary-treasurer for five-year terms at the July 25 constitutional convention.

Sullivan, 55, had been president of the Elevator Constructors and Maloney was director of the Building Trades Department's Canadian division. They had been serving their positions since January, assuming their office after the retirement of President Robert Georgine.

"As we face the future, I see three main goals: aggressive organizing, operating a powerful legislative and political program, and involving our members in all we do," Sullivan said. "We also intend to increase the market share for union construction and encouraging the use of project labor agreements."

Sullivan used his pulpit to urge building trades reps to go to greater lengths to take on the anti-union ABC.

"We have met the enemy and it's not us; it's the ABC's merit shop contractors and it is time for us to take them on and take them out," Sullivan said.

It was pointed out at the convention that building trades organizing efforts are working - last year, the 131,000 increase in building trades union membership accounted for half the growth of the entire labor movement. However, there are plenty of nonunion employees who are ripe for picking. According to research conducted by the Building Trades Department, temporary employment agencies still dispatch about 250,000 construction workers every day in the U.S. - about 20 percent of the nation's 1.1 million unionized construction workers.

The building trades will remain politically active under Sullivan.

"Key to the success of all these efforts is the direct involvement and participation of building trades members," Sullivan said. "We intend to reach out to our members, and urge them to participate in our quality, political and organizing programs. Our strength lies with our members and we intend to build on our strength at every level.

"New challenges face union building trades as we move into a new century, but we remain committed to our traditional values of expanding union work and protecting the hard-won wages and benefits for our members."