In the two years since I assumed the presidency of the Building and Construction Trades Department, I have set as a top priority the institution of a new culture for the union construction industry – one that is premised upon the ideal of pride, performance and professionalism, coupled with stringent individual and organizational accountability. To my mind’s eye, that objective can only be achieved by having greater participation and cooperation among and between all individual building trades unions, as well as among and between our collective Canadian and American movements.
To date, we have made significant strides. Everywhere I travel, I am hearing from construction owners and contractors who convey to me how impressed they are with our willingness to “step outside the box” of our traditional comfort zones and entertain ideas and new process that are enabling us to better adapt to the ever-changing realities of our industry.
It heartens me to hear those types of sentiments, because our mission is to grow…in both market share and membership. And we can only achieve growth by demonstrating a new structural, organizational and attitudinal reality. That is why it is so critically important to have a seamless integration between the Canadian and American Building Trades Unions.
And that was the thinking that went into the new website design for the Canadian Building Trades office. The intent is to foster a more seamless brand identity, along with a more effective organizational structure that can, and will, facilitate better working relationships between our two national offices in order to better leverage our resources and to position us as “North America’s Building Trades Unions” – which will greatly assist us in generating market share and membership growth.
For far too long, we (and by we, I mean those of us in America) have looked upon the Canadian Building Trades as a separate entity that was better left to its own devices. To me, that is wrongheaded thinking. In both nations, we are confronted with similar issues and similar industry characteristics and conditions. And, perhaps most importantly, we have construction owners and contractors that operate on both sides of our border. There is absolutely no value in having us operate without a sense of integration and involvement with one another.
And speaking of value, I want to acknowledge and thank the Canadian Building Trades for being so receptive to assimilating our new “Value on Display…Every Day” brand identity into the fabric and DNA of our provincial councils throughout Canada. I realize that we have a myriad of issues that confront us on a day to day basis, most prominently the levels of unemployment that confront our members in both nations today. But, these issues will be resolved – hopefully, sooner rather than later.
But, what will sustain us over the long haul will be a rigorous and steadfast commitment to a new organizational culture that demonstrates through actions, not words, that our unions – in both Canada and the United States – are fully and seriously committed to becoming value-added partners for those who seek the services of the safest, most highly skilled and productive workforce found anywhere in the world.
God Bless North America’s Building Trades Unions!
Mark H. Ayers