The recent Industry Fund booklet which claimed Local 28’s jurisdictional work is increasingly won by non-union sheet metal contractors has stirred some interest – especially among the 400 plus members sitting on the misnamed job referral list.  The job referral list should be called the wish list.

For those 400 out of work members, it is as if the Court, the membership,  the I.A. and Local 28 wish the referral list produced union jobs or union contractors with jobs.  As if, full 28 court compliance with the wish list was all that was needed for those 400 long-term unemployed members  to earn a steady livelihood.  As if full control of Local 28’s jurisdiction was not the real answer.  It is as if the wish list is telling us that 100% jurisdictional control of our work was not the best answer to moving members off the wish list.

What to do?

The first thing to do is prod.  Prod Local 28. Prod the Industry Fund.  Prod the I.A.  Prod Local 28’s Funds and Plans.  The Industry Fund made the claim that this local’s work jurisdiction is disappearing.  If true as stated in the booklet, the future is dire for those on the wish list and worse for those just coming into the trade.  Poke and prod every source of information at our disposal.  Get the facts.

The membership should know if it is true that Local 28 members perform only 33%+- of the sheet metal work in our area.  However the membership does not know if that claim is true.  The members have no way of confirming or refuting that booklet and its claims.

The membership cannot come to an informed judgment without numbers and facts.  For example, by inference, the booklet claims that on any given day in NYC/LI there are 5000 non-union sheet metal mechanics working alongside and in addition to Local 28’s 2500 journeymen and apprentices.  Which is to say that the non-union sheet metal industry is twice as large as the union sheet metal industry.  That’s a lot to swallow on faith.  At a minimum, a non-union census or body count was taken or should have been taken before that claim was made.  The 33% number may be a true statement but we should not be asked to take it on faith – show me.

Show me (the members) how many millions of man hours Local 28 performed in 2000,… 2009, 2010, 2011, etc. etc.  Show me that those 28 man hours numbers are declining in 2012. 2013, 2014, etc., etc.  Show me the population of Local 28 during those years.  Show me our membership numbers are declining.  Or in counterpoint, show me rising membership numbers which means that Local 28, the Court and the I.A. have been unwittingly building a permanent under-class of under-employed members into the way we do business as a union.   Prod until ALL the useful numbers become second nature to the official family and the general membership.

Only genuine transparent information will prove the case presented in that booklet.  Only genuine information will help the membership make the right choices in facing and solving the non-union problem.

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