In 2008, we devoted our time and resources to the campaign of then-candidate Barack Obama. As 2008 ended, an article in the Metaletter talked about how hopeful we were that, as a nation, we would begin to reverse some of the destruction of the middle class that had been in a free fall for more than 30 years.
As we close out 2012, we again devoted our time and resources campaigning for President Obama. We are proud of the work that Labor and our Metal Trades Council members across the country did to elect President Obama and the many other labor-friendly candidates in battleground states nationwide. We still believe that we can affect change.
Unfortunately in 2013, we still are facing many of the same challenges we saw four years ago. Despite the Election Day shellacking handed to the intransigent right wing conservatives, we still have Wall Street and Big Business victimizing the working class, demanding significant sacrifices from workers at the bargaining table, stealing their pensions, and then blaming the workers when the corporate elite have (purposely) run a company into the ground. We still have the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson and Tea Party Republicans trying to destroy labor unions and no one on the right is compromising on anything. Our fight is far from over.
Labor is facing some of the most destructive forces we have ever gone up against. Right-to-work legislation is being pushed through Republican-led state legislatures and governors are pulling pages from the ALEC playbook aimed at destroying collective bargaining for public employees. Government employees are facing more pay freezes and the looming fiscal cliff will cut resources to every federal agency. Our nuclear workers have repeatedly been the focus of irresponsible legislation in Congress that puts them in harms’ way and fails to protect them as they perform some of the most dangerous jobs in our nation.
I am looking to 2013 as our opportunity, labor’s opportunity, to change the playbook. Labor’s mandate is to better the working conditions and lives of our members. In 2013, if we have any chance of accomplishing that goal we must re-write the book. Our lives and livelihood depend on it. And know that as we enter the New Year I have hope—much as I did four years ago—that we can still make a difference. We will make a difference.
I will spend my holidays with my family and loved ones. Our staff, who have worked so hard this past year will take some much needed rest time and prepare to fight in 2013 for our membership with renewed energy and hope. We will not give up.
Happy Holiday wishes from the staff, officers, and councils that represent the skilled craft trades men and women who build and overhaul the submarines, ships and weapons systems; safeguard and maintain our strategic nuclear facilities and forces; who manufacture, maintain and provide the essential energy, chemicals, goods and services that keep America safe and strong—every day of the year!