Today in Labor History: October 7; Member Tip

Today in Labor History: October 7
The Structural Building Trades Alliance (SBTA) is founded, becomes the AFL’s Building Trades Dept. five years later. SBTA’s mission: to provide a form to work out jurisdictional conflicts – 1903
(Skilled Hands, Strong Spirits follows the history of the Building and Construction Trades Department of the AFL-CIO from the emergence of building trades councils in the age of the skyscraper. It takes the reader through treacherous fights over jurisdiction as new building materials and methods of work evolved; and describes numerous Department campaigns to improve safety standards, work with contractors to promote unionized construction, and forge a sense of industrial unity among its autonomous and highly diverse affiliates.)

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Member Tip: A Union’s Difficult Balancing Act
It can get a little complicated for the union to make decisions. It’s not uncommon to have situations where individuals or smaller groups within the bargaining unit have potentially conflicting interests. For example, two union-represented employees get into a fight. Each claims that the other started the fight. It can be hard for the union to sort out how to advocate for both of these union members’ interests at the same time. Just as the larger society makes decisions that balance the interests of different groups—whether it’s more fair to raise money by raising the income tax rate or the sales tax, for instance—so must our unions.
—Adapted from The Union Member’s Complete Guide, by Michael Mauer