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Building Trades President Edward Sullivan Announces October Retirement

May 17 2007


815 SIXTEENTH ST. N.W., SUITE 600 WASHINGTON, D.C. 20006-4104
Edward C. Sullivan, President
Sean McGarvey, Secretary-Treasurer

Contact: Helen Corbett, 978-774-0492

Building Trades President Edward Sullivan Announces October Retirement

Statement of Edward C. Sullivan, President
Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO

“Although that date is over four months away, I chose to announce it now for a good reason. The Department and our Governing Board of Presidents will hold a Strategic Planning retreat in the near future. I think it is important that the General Presidents of our affiliated unions be able to factor new leadership into their strategic and operational planning for the Department.

“It has been an honor and privilege to serve as President of this Department for the past seven years. I am proud of what has been accomplished. Our Tripartite Initiative with the Construction Users Roundtable are making our industry stronger, and are fostering cooperation for the first time between owners and the Building Trades. The National Drug Testing Program has broken new ground. Our Helmets to Hardhats Program has exceeded expectations and makes the future better for returning veterans and the trade unions they join. The National Coordinating Committee for Multiemployer Plans has been revitalized and members pension funds saved through Section 415 and the Pension Reform Act. Training, health and safety programs have improved remarkably, as well.

“The Building Trades have been in the forefront of the long political battle to stop a century of progress from being turned back. Last fall our persistence and determination paid off when we helped return Congressional leadership to people who give strong consideration to how legislation affects working families. Our members who fought the good fight in the scores of battleground states I campaigned in during my tenure, made me very proud. They are the reason our Legislative Task Force will have doors open to them for the first time in a long time on Capitol Hill.

“There is an even more important political challenge ahead in 2008 and I am confident that the Building Trades will be in the charge to victory again. I want others to step forward to lead that charge because the health and vitality of any organization depends on developing and utilizing the skills of new leaders to carry the cause forward for future generations. I am confident our Governing Board will do just that.

“I started in this business over 40 years ago. At each stage of my career…as a working member and as an elected leader at many levels…everything I’ve ever undertaken was done through the eyes of being a local member. That’s where my roots are, and that’s where they will always be.

“At our Legislative Conference this spring, I said it was a new day for the Building Trades. I believe that’s true and I think new days require calling for new leaders, too. I am confident that I am leaving this organization in capable hands with many strong leaders to meet the challenges ahead.

“Because, as much as I have enjoyed my years in the Building Trades, I am truly looking forward to returning to my home in Massachusetts and having the chance to spend time with my wife, children and grandchildren.”

Edward C. Sullivan Background:
Prior to his election in 2000 to the top post in the Department–consisting of 12 international unions representing 2,000,000 construction craftspeople in the U.S. and Canada — Sullivan was General President of the International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC).

In 1964, Sullivan began his career in the elevator trade as a probationary helper in IUEC Local Union #4 in Boston. He worked as a construction mechanic and an adjuster in maintenance for 17 years. In 1981, he was elected Business Manager of Local #4, and he served in that capacity until he was elected Assistant to the General President of the IUEC in 1996. He was elected General President of the union in 1998. He also chaired the Board of Elevator Regulators in Massachusetts for 10 years.

In 1997 he received the Gompers-Murray-Meany Award, the top honor awarded each year by the Massachusetts AFL-CIO.

Sullivan presently serves on the AFL-CIO Executive Council and is chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Coordinating Committee for Multiemployer Plans, and the Center to Protect Workers’ Rights. He is the Secretary-Treasurer of the Union Labor Life Insurance Company (ULLICO). He serves as Trustee of the National Labor College. He is a member of the boards of the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust, the Diabetes Research Foundation, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, and the Working for America Institute.

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