It Has Been an Honor to Represent You
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
First, I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year and continued success in 2024. As your Business Manager over the last two decades, it has been an honor to represent you, and I appreciate the confidence and support you have given me during that time. I am proud of the great progress we have made together, and the strength our local union shows today. It has not been an easy road, as I took over Laborers Local 66 during very troubled times, and we did not know what the future would hold. Our funds were depleted, our reputation was tarnished and there were many tough decisions to be made. But we got through it together, and today we are stronger than ever, which is why I announced my retirement late last year. I did so with no regrets knowing there is a strong group of leaders ready to continue to move our organization forward.
Retiring as a 38-year member of this great union is bittersweet. I will miss the comradery, the fight we bring to the table every day and the satisfaction of putting our great members to work. But we all look forward to enjoying the next chapter of our lives, which we are grateful and blessed to have as union members; a strong pension, quality healthcare and an annuity that continues to grow. It’s what I have worked hard to build and protect for all of us, and it is time to allow the next generation of laborers to lead.
When I took over leadership of Local 66 in late 2003, our Union reserves could not even cover a year’s worth of operating expenses, our pension was underfunded and we did not know if Local 66 would survive to see another year. Since that time, we have built up our reserves to cover almost three years of operating expenses, our pension contributions have doubled and it is now over 100% funded. Our annuity rate has also doubled during that time and continues to thrive. For our retirees, I have delivered six 13th checks to help them survive on fixed incomes.
We have passed countless independent audits with glowing remarks and zero issues. We have maintained strong membership numbers while other unions have shrunk. We grew our apprenticeship program, and are now even starting a union high school pre-apprenticeship program here on Long Island, which is the first in New York State.
We have built a political program that far exceeds other local unions, and have passed signature pieces of legislation to require apprenticeship on municipal contracts, that require OSHA 30 certifications to work on large construction projects throughout Long Island, that created Project Labor Agreements for major public works project in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. In addition, we are the local union that others look up to when it comes to organizing and going after criminal contractors. Simply put, we fight harder than anyone else, and that has put our members to work.
Most importantly, I have always resisted the pressure from wealthy developers to create alternative rates like other local unions. We don’t need to work for less. I have also avoided requests from contractors to take more money from member’s wallets in order to create target funds that are used to subside benefits, essentially forcing members to pay for their health care rather than their employers. I have refused to jeopardize wages and benefits, while continuing to gain work and grow our union, and the results speak for themselves.
Again, I am extremely proud of everything we have accomplished together. I will continue to lead Local 66 into 2024, and will announce my final day in the coming months, but know that no matter who is at the helm, this organization is greater than any single individual, and there is a strong foundation to continue to build on. It has been the experience of a lifetime to work with all of you, and I cannot thank you enough for allowing me to do so.
Laborers Local 66