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Washington, DC (Sept. 26, 2016) – During the 25th general convention of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) last week, which drew over 4,000 delegates and guests, General President Terry O’Sullivan, General Secretary Treasurer Armand E. Sabitoni, and the entire General Executive Board were unanimously re-elected.
“I see the strongest, smartest, bravest, most militant union leaders in the movement today,” General President Terry O’Sullivan told the convention.
During the four-day event, delegates received updates on several historic measures adopted by the union, including the strengthening of the organization’s political action committee which has placed it in the top 10 union PACS in the U.S., and an unprecedented commitment to organizing that now generates over 80 million dollars a year to grow and strengthen the union through member contributions of 25 cents per hour.
Delegates united behind an aggressive and progressive path for the next five years. General President O’Sullivan stated, “Brothers and Sisters, our best days are ahead of us, not behind us. We have shown time and time again that we have the strength, the courage, and the wisdom to meet any challenge placed in front of us,” said O’Sullivan.
And, while charting its future, delegates recounted where the union, founded in 1903 by immigrant workers struggling for better lives, came from and where it has been.
“We took this union from a small group of courageous immigrant and minority workers that no one else wanted to the powerhouse it is today,” O’Sullivan told the convention. He underscored how the union has faced challenges as recent as the Great Recession – when unemployment levels in the construction industry soared past 25 percent to Depression-era levels – only to emerge intact and stronger and with a greater presence in the growing energy sector.
“In the last five years, LIUNA has become the recognized leader, and the go-to union in the energy sector,” O’Sullivan told the convention. “We have created new jobs for our members in solar, wind, hydro and nuclear, while defending our jobs in the pipeline sector.”
Delegates also unanimously passed a resolution condemning the attacks on the livelihoods of LIUNA members working on the Dakota Access Pipeline by the Communication Workers of America (CWA), National Nurses United (NNU), Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), and American Postal Workers Union (APWU) who have come out publicly against the pipeline. The resolution stated that, “These four unions have no equity in this pipeline, it will not put a single one of their members to work yet they choose to take food off of our members’ tables. A central tenet of the labor movement has always been that when it comes to a project in which you have no equity at stake, you either support it or remain silent. We look forward to reciprocating the “solidarity” shown to LIUNA members by these unions.”
Numerous elected leaders and union leaders addressed the more than 4,000 delegates and guests.
“Feel the power, be the power, use the power!” O’Sullivan told attendees.
Convention attendees put words into action, as more than two thousand marched in solidarity with the proud, strong, and united brothers and sisters of UNITEHERE on Trump Tower, where Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump has continued his union-busting tradition by trying to crush the hotel workers’ efforts to win a first contract with the Culinary Union. The march underscored LIUNA’s focus on the fall elections and on the right to organize.
“Will we choose a President who attacks union rights, civil rights and human rights?” O’Sullivan said to delegates. “Or will we choose a President who wants to build upon all of the accomplishments and advancements of the past 240 years? This is an easy choice for LIUNA. We whole-heartedly and enthusiastically support Hillary Rodham Clinton to be the next President of the United States.”