Today, the 2012 Campaign comes to a close. And while some may choose to rest, America's Building Trades Unions continue to work. Our efforts today are extremely focused on ensuring a maximum tuurnout among our members for an election that has much at stake for our unions, our industry, and our nation.
First and foremost, our unions have made it a priority to re-elect President Barack Obama.
When he took office in 2009, the U.S. construction industry was rocked with an unemployment rate approaching 23% nationwide. On a month-by-month basis, that number has steadily declined over the last four years. And it will decline further under President Obama's "Invest in America" plan that prioritizes the re-building of our nation's infrastructure. Our members have come to the conclusion that the President's actions and vision are far more preferable to Mitt Romney's plan that includes the repeal of the Davis-Bacon Act and the elimination of Project Labor Agreements (PLAs).
Further, America's Building Trades Unions are placing a high priority on several U.S. Congressional races. We are working very hard to defeat two of the most anti-Building Trades members of the U.S. House - Rep. Steve King in Iowa and Rep. Frank Guinta in New Hampshire. In those two races we are backing Christie Vilsack (Iowa) and Carol Shea-Porter (New Hampshire).
We are also working hard to help elect to the U.S. House of Representatives Marc Pocan (a member of IUPAT) in Wisconsin, Betty Sutton in Ohio, and Gary McDowell (a Teamster) in Michigan. In the US Senate, our unions have gone to the mat for incumbent Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown in Ohio, and for Elizabeth Warren in her quest to unseat Senator Scott Brown in Massachusetts.
And then there are the efforts to secure the re-election of many Republican members of the U.S. House who have been steadfast supporters of the Davis-Bacon Act and Project Labor Agreements.
BCTD and affliate union staff have been on the ground in many of these races for weeks. President Sean McGarvey and Secretary-Treasurer Brent Booker have been barnstorming the nation ove the past week to participate in Building Trades "Day of Action" rallies, jobsite visits, neighborhood walks and phone banks.
Our efforts during this election cycle also extend to many ballot initiatives across the nation.
In California, our unions are working feverishly to defeat Proposition 32, which would neuter the ability of our unions to participate fairly in the electoral process. In Los Angeles, the LA/Orange County Building Trades have mobilized in support of Measure J, which would extend a small sales tax to fund the construction of much-needed transit projects in the LA basin.
In Michigan, there are several ballot proposals of direct intertest to the Building Trades. Proposal 3 would enshrine collective bargaining rights in the state constitution. Our unions are also working in close cooperation with our utility industry partners to defeat Proposal 3, the ill-conceived idea to force the state to secure 25% of its energy from renewable sources by the year 2025. Also, our unions are working hard to defeat Proposal 6, which would amend the state's constitution to require a public vote on the construction of a bridge crossing between Detroit and Canada. This proposal would interfere with the current, and on-going, negotiations to secure a Project Labor Agreement for an already proposed bridge project.
These are just a few of the races and initiatives that have attracted our attention, interest and resources.
But, at the end of today, America's Building Trades Unions will continue to maintain the posture of being willing to work in close cooperation with any elected official of any political party, as well as any industry or individual corporation, that desires to help move our union, our industry, and the American Middle Class forward.