Labor Leaders and Blue Collar Caucus Meet to Chart Future Collaboration

Mar 29, 2017
Press Release
Inaugural listening session between labor leaders and members of the Blue Collar Caucus

WASHINGTON, DC –  Yesterday, the Congressional Blue Collar Caucus, co-chaired by Congressmen Marc Veasey (TX-33) and Brendan F. Boyle (PA-13), hosted a robust and productive inaugural listening session featuring national and international labor leaders: Terry O’Sullivan, President of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, Bob Martinez, President of International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, and James Boland, President of the International Union of Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers. Representatives from United Auto Workers, United Association of Plumbers, Fitters, Welders and Service Techs, International Union of Operating Engineers, United Steelworkers, and the Building Trades Council were also in attendance.

The meeting touched on a variety of timely issues that can help lawmakers and labor leaders work together in the fight to secure healthcare, wage, and job security for all Americans, and reconnect blue collar workers to the Democratic Party.

“We formed the Blue Collar Caucus to reassert Democrats’ historic role as the true champions of working people: to determine where and why we’ve become disconnected from these voters and correct this trend,” said Blue Collar Caucus co-chair Boyle. “To convincingly speak on behalf of workers, we must first listen to them, engage with them, and ultimately stand with them. We must earn their trust back through words and actions. We’re eager to get to work,” he added.

“This listening session is the first of many efforts by the Blue Collar Caucus to engage with labor leaders and hear firsthand about the current challenges their membership face. From protecting hard earned pensions to ensuring that infrastructure and highway legislation accounts for the needs of blue collar Americans, members of the Blue Collar Caucus are committed to fighting for the best interests of the American worker.” said co-chair Marc Veasey.

Several labor leaders in attendance also signaled their support for the Caucus, and their desire to help the Caucus serve the interests of their members and reconnect at the ballot box.

Bob Martinez, President of International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers:
“This was a productive meeting, a very serious discussion about some very serious issues confronting the working men and women in this country. I want to thank both Congressman Boyle and Congressman Veasey for bringing all of myself and our colleagues and more importantly the other members of Congress to the table to hear what we had to say. I believe this was a great day for workers. We got a chance to air out what our concerns are, and what affects working men and women in this country. I think it was a great meeting.”

Terry O’Sullivan, President of the Laborers’ International Union of North America:
“I thought it was excellent. I commend Congressman Boyle and Congressman Veasey for the vision and their courage for forming the Blue Collar Caucus. I represent blue collar workers, and it was refreshing to sit in a room with both those congressmen and the other congressional representatives talking about our issues of importance.”

The Blue Collar Caucus was formed in the wake of the 2016 election to better understand and effectively address the increasing level of economic anxiety felt by workers in a wide variety of industries impacted by globalization, unfair trade deals, and declines in manufacturing. The Blue Collar Caucus is committed to holding the President accountable for his promises to working Americans. This meeting was the first of many listening sessions the Caucus intends to host. At the conclusion of the meeting, Caucus members were asked to return to their districts during the upcoming district work period and hold their own listening session at a local manufacturer, business or union hall to hear the concerns of blue collar stakeholders.

Current members of the Blue Collar Caucus include: Brendan Boyle (PA-13) (Co-Chair), Marc Veasey (TX-33) (Co-Chair), Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Rick Nolan (MN-08), Dan Kildee (MI-05), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Tim Ryan (OH-13), John Garamendi (CA-03), Louise Slaughter (NY-25), Matt Cartwright (PA-17), Bill Pascrell (NJ-09), Marcy Kaptur (OH-09), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Ruben Gallego (AZ-07), Dan Lipinski (IL-03), Kathy Castor (FL-14), Brian Higgins (NY-26), John Yarmuth (KY-03), Eric Swalwell (CA-15), Joe Courtney (CT-02), Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), Donald Norcross (NJ-01), Dina Titus (NV-01), Paul Tonko (NY-20), John Larson (CT-01), Chellie Pingree (ME-01), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Luis Gutierrez (IL-04), Cheri Bustos (IL-17), J. Luis Correa (CA-46), Stephen F. Lynch (MA-08), Seth Moulton (MA-06), Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01)