Skyline of Richmond, Virginia

Iron Workers representative confused by union hatred


APRIL 2014, LEHIGH VALLEY Edition of The Union News

Iron Workers representative confused by union hatred


REGION, March 13th- Gary Martin, Business Manager of the Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers Union Local 420, which represents Iron Workers members in the Lehigh Valley, “sounded-off” on why any worker would support anti-union legislation in Harrisburg that would help decrease their standard of living. Mr. Martin is also a Vice-President on the Pennsylvania State Building and Construction Trades Council in Harrisburg.

“I do have a hard time understanding, especially with the record disparity between the wealthy and the poor in our country, how any average worker can be against an opportunity to belong to an organization of other workers who together bargain for a better wage and benefit plan from the employer without fear of repercutions,” said Mr. Martin.

Mr. Martin believes one of the main reasons union membership today is down is because jobs have left the nation including those within related industries like tire manufacturers, appliances, plastics, and chemicals.

Mr. Martin stated people who hate labor unions would have people believe that its the fault of the labor community that manufacturing jobs have left the country. He said they would like you to think that unions got too greedy and the jobs left.

“I’d say the more realistic reason is that while we were busy rebuilding Europe and Japan under the Marshall Plan after World War II, corporate America didn’t invest in our industry at home. So, when the rest of the world was rebuilt and modernized, America was 20 years behind. Along with our lopsided trade deals and outdated industrial base, corporate America left America,” Mr. Martin stated.

Local 420 is affiliated with the Building and Construction Trades Council of the Lehigh Valley. Jim Reilley, the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Union Local 542 Business Representative, is president of the labor federation.