Telling the more than 100 delegates to the 21st convention of the International Union of Allied, Novelty and Production Workers, AFL –CIO, that Americans got what they voted for – or didn’t vote for by staying home – MTD President Michael Sacco said union members could not be complacent in the upcoming 2012 national elections.
“We need to elect those who understand the need of working people,” Sacco stated when he addressed the convention on May 11. “We need to participate and we need to make sure our members and our families are involved.”
The Novelty Workers, who are an MTD affiliate, met in St. Petersburg Beach, FL, for their weeklong gathering. Members of the union come from 15 states and represent 20 nationalities, all of which were represented by small flags on a table in front of the dais. The union represents workers in many fields including manufacturing, nursing homes, retail and more, according to President Mark Spano. Among the most visible items Novelty Workers produce are American-made Weber grills.
Sacco noted a longtime slogan within the Seafarers Union, of which he also is president, that “Politics is pork chops. And what that means is that our ability to put food on the table and to keep a roof over our heads depends on having pro-worker representatives at every level of government and in the White House.”
He added we may mot agree with everything that has been done by the Obama Administration, but it beats what has taken place in states like Wisconsin, Ohio and Florida where workers stayed home on Election Day 2010. He said he was like everyone else in Labor, hoping for more for workers from Washington after the 2008 elections. But, as he reminded the audience, look what President Obama was up against in terms of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression as well as two wars being waged.
The MTD president provided the delegates with updates on what is happening within the U.S.-flag maritime industry as well as the global battle against piracy. To give the audience a better appreciation for seafarers, he reminded the delegates that union American mariners delivered humanitarian aid to Haiti immediately the devastating earthquake, rescued the passengers and crew of the airliner that ditched in the Hudson River and kept control of the Maersk Alabama when pirates attacked it and took the captain.
The convention also heard from Richard Kline, president of the Union Label and Service Trades Department, AFL-CIO; and representatives from the Florida AFL-CIO as well as the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.