Dear Brothers and Sisters,
When United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America Founder Peter McGuire came up with the idea for Labor Day back in 1882, he had good reason to celebrate. Just one year prior he established the UBC and successfully fought for the eight-hour workday and other workplace protections. McGuire is also credited as the catalyst behind the national labor federation movement that gave unions the strength and bargaining power we all benefit from today.
A national holiday in celebration of labor was good for worker morale, McGuire believed, but it would also demonstrate the strength and solidarity of unions.
Nearly 140 years later, his vision still rings true. Labor Day is certainly a time for hard-earned rest and relaxation, but it also a time for us to reflect on our successes as a union and take stock of all that we have accomplished. From helping keep our local economies afloat by working through the COVID-19 pandemic, to holding unscrupulous contractors accountable for not paying fair wages, to resurrecting residential work for union carpenters, there are many successes for our union to celebrate. Each and every day, the 30,000 members of the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters are doing their part to improve the lives of working families. That is power, that is solidarity and that is what the spirit of Labor Day is all about.
I am extremely proud of the courage, strength and selflessness displayed by our union membership over these last trying six months. The coronavirus has made life difficult for everyone, but together we’ve stood tall and pulled through. No matter what we face, your union will always be there in your corner looking out for you. We’ve provided dues credits, extended health insurance eligibility for members who lost coverage due to a reduction of hours worked, reduced COBRA premiums, and provided 100% coverage for testing, office visits, ER and urgent care visits relating to COVID-19 to help our Brothers and Sisters get through these difficult times. And make no mistake, we will get though them and come out of this global pandemic stronger than ever.
Thank you again for all that you do to lift working families and for your commitment to the labor movement. We are carrying on Peter McGuire’s legacy of strength in solidarity. As you’ll hear me say repeatedly because I know it’s true, while we are strong alone, we are unstoppable together.
Happy Labor Day.
Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters