This “new day” begins with one simple question to guide our union: Is what I’m about to do going to make the working life of a rank-and-file Boilermaker better?
Over the past weeks, I’ve had the opportunity at several conferences to directly address lodge leaders, our partners, contractors and employers about the issues our union recently faced that led to the removal of our former president. I have never been one to suffer in silence, and I wanted to be straightforward and transparent in describing the events that occurred.
So, I spoke candidly about what took place: The inappropriate spending of union funds, the Article 17 charges filed against Newton Jones, the courage of four International Vice Presidents who risked their careers to do what was right for our union, and the legal battle that ultimately defended their IBB Constitutional authority to do so.
But just as important—and maybe even more importantly—I talked about what’s happening now, and what happens next. Because we have but one way to go, and that’s forward.
I wanted to make it clear: We are moving forward, and this is a new day for the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers.
Brothers and sisters, this is a new day.
And this “new day” begins with one simple question to guide our union and the decisions each and every leader will make—myself included. That question is this:
Is what I’m about to do going to make the working life of a rank-and-file Boilermaker better?
If the answer is “yes,” then we’re going to pursue that opportunity with our full arsenal of resources. If the answer is “no” …well, we’re just not going to spend one Boilermaker dime on it.
You see, the International Executive Council—which is made up of all five International Vice Presidents and myself—recognizes and agrees that
Every penny our union spends was first entrusted to us by a rank-and-file Boilermaker.
We understand that the Boilermakers union will only be successful if every member in this organization has the chance to be successful.
So going forward, you are going to see some changes in the way we conduct our business—changes that increase our union’s accountability and discipline. Among those changes, the IEC will work together with our constitutional authority as a governing body—all six of us together and with the independent voice of the International Secretary-Treasurer, not just one person calling the shots on a whim. This creates much-needed checks and balances at the International leadership level.
Our goal is to work together on the decisions that impact our union and its future. We are confident that through this new collaborative model, the decisions we come to will be well thought-out, strategic, free from personal gain and ultimately rooted in whatever is in the best interest of the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers.
We got to work immediately upon the federal judge’s Aug. 15 decision upholding the Article 17 outcome against the former president, and we are already strengthening policies, creating realistic budgets and reworking logistical processes to ensure we make wise choices with the hard-earned funds Boilermakers entrust to our union—and to keep us sharply focused on prioritized initiatives that will most benefit members and local lodges.
One initiative I can assure is a top priority is organizing. Organizing is one of the most important things a labor union should be doing, and for far too long, the Boilermakers union has neglected this duty to our Boilermaker brothers and sisters and the labor movement. Not anymore. We are committed to reallocating resources to organizing—because organizing is vital.
We’re also building a new mental health program for Construction Sector Boilermakers—an initiative we learned from lodge leaders is greatly needed in our industries, and we’re re-opening the research and collective bargaining services department to make sure our industrial sector has access to the best tools to negotiate the best contracts for Boilermaker members.
These are all things that will absolutely make a difference in the lives of rank-and-file Boilermakers, and they are just the beginning. We have a lot to get done.
Brothers and sisters, we are on a better and right path. We are certainly going to need to make some difficult decisions, but rest assured that the IEC will make every effort to confirm that the people, resources and endeavors we invest in are right and carefully considered—with our union’s future as the first and foremost measure.
It’s a new day for the Boilermakers union, and as we look forward together to a brighter, stronger future, it’s a good day to be a Boilermaker.