Brothers and Sisters,
Labor Day is a time where we can look back at the founding of our union and the importance of unions in our country. For 140 years, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America has been on the frontlines in defending workers’ rights and striving to provide carpenters with the ability and opportunity not just to have a job, but a fulfilling career. The founder of both Labor Day and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, Peter J. McGuire, is someone we should remember and thank as we strive to meet the ideals that he held for workers’ rights.
McGuire literally put his body on the line for union values and rallied others to join him under our motto to “Organize, Agitate, Educate”. As we all spend time with our friends and family this labor day, we remember all of the men and women who joined McGuire and sacrificed their comfort, safety, and in some cases their lives, in the struggle for safer working conditions and fair pay. These rights are the backbone of our union and our country’s underlying strength.
For 140 years we have seen major victories in working conditions and the right to organize, but we also see major defeats and our opposition of anti-labor politicians and non-union construction organizations become embolden. Wage theft, the introduction of more so-called right-to-work legislation across the country, misclassification of workers, and the undermining of our apprenticeship is still a reality and there are those working every day to weaken your union way of life. We will continue our 140-year tradition though of organizing for more job opportunities for our members, agitating those in the industry who commit the fraud that infringes on workers’ rights, and educating our communities that it is unions that help America prosper. We will do this with our members, pro-union elected officials, enforcement agencies, and fellow members of labor. Together we will all create a better future for our union families.
Labor Day is our day. Union workers across the country will celebrate and enjoy time with their loved ones and have a much-deserved day off. As we celebrate let’s also honor the brothers and sisters who came before us and paved the way for our freedoms.
I want to wish you a well-deserved Labor Day weekend with your family.
William C. Sproule