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General Presidents Wise, O'Sullivan talk union expansion

May 31 2011

TAUC’s 2011 Leadership Conference was held May 10-13 at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. The annual event brought together 175 representatives from the contractor, building trades and owner-client communities to discuss the latest industry trends and hear from an A-list collection of experts on a variety of topics.

Wise also reiterated his commitment to an ambitious goal: double the Iron Workers’ market share in 10 years. “With the creation of our Key Performance Indicators and the formation of IMPACT, we were on a great run from 2006-2008,” Wise said. He believes his union can not only regain that past success, but exceed it. “We’re going to expand our existing contractor work in low-density areas, and make sure there are areas where you can go in and secure that work,” he pledged to the audience. “But we’re also going to need more contractors, and we need them to go after small work that has been abandoned. We will also develop programs for our members so they are fully aware of what it means to go into contracting.”

“Here’s a very telling statistic: 81% of our construction membership lives in 14 states and one [Canadian] province,” O’Sullivan said. With numbers like that, “we can’t be a viable, long-term organization.” Thus, LIUNA plans to spend roughly $250 million over the next five years on organizing. O’Sullivan noted that he has talked with Wise about planning some joint organizing efforts as well.

“We want to stay strong where we are [already] strong, and focus a lot of our organizing efforts on medium-, low- and no-density areas,” O’Sullivan added.

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