Laborers’ O’Sullivan: We need to elect champions for Organized Labor

RETIREE Desoto Wilkes (left), a 61-year member, talks with Laborers General President Terry O’Sullivan. – Labor Tribune photo
RETIREE Desoto Wilkes (left), a 61-year member, talks with Laborers General President Terry O’Sullivan. – Labor Tribune photo



Terry O’Sullivan, general president of the Laborers International Union of North American (LIUNA) visited with members of Laborers Local 110 in south St. Louis County recently, meeting with both retirees and the general membership and urging them to activism in this year’s federal and state elections.

O’Sullivan pulled no punches, referring to Washington, D.C., where his office is located, as a “cesspool” and lumping Republicans and Democrats in that description.

“Tell me, who the champion of Organized Labor is in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate?” O’Sullivan asked retirees at a midday luncheon. “We have friends, but what we need are leaders.”

Hillary Clinton, who last week cinched the presumptive Democratic nomination for President, would be that friend, O’Sullivan said.

“If Hillary Clinton is in the White House, I can guarantee you I can go in the front door and not the side door or the back door,” he said.

Pivoting to state politics in Missouri, O’Sullivan told the retirees “You can attest more than I can the importance of having friends in government in the state of Missouri.”

Arnold Food Pantry 2x4 color 6-2Referring to Missouri Governor Jay Nixon’s veto of right-to-work legislation and paycheck deception legislation this year, O’Sullivan said “They tried it once, they tried it twice, and they’re going to keep trying until they get it done.”

That’s why its important to elect Democrat Chris Koster governor and propel Democrat Jason Kander to victory over incumbent U.S. Senator Roy Blunt.

“Roy Blunt has never lifted a damn finger for the working people in this state or this country,” O’Sullivan said to enthusiastic applause.


Laborers Vice President and Midwest Regional Manager John Penn delivered a similar message, calling out the Republican-controlled legislature in Missouri and the anti-worker crusade of Illinois’s Republican Governor Bruce Rauner

In Missouri, where right-to-work and paycheck deception have come within a hair’s breadth of getting passed, Penn said “We’re winning that fight because we’re turning out the vote and we’re reaching out to both parties. I know I don’t have to tell you what will happen if we lose the governor’s race.”

Kenricks.2x3 Joe knows 5 offThe Republican candidates for Missouri governor have each expressed their support for right-to-work. Longtime friend of working families Attorney General Chris Koster is seeking the Democratic nomination.

On Rauner, Penn said, Illinois residents – including card carrying Laborers – had voted for him because they wanted a change, but certainly not the anti-worker assault Rauner has delivered.

“Our members wanted a change and they got it,” said Penn. “It’s important to know the subject and who the candidate is, because everything you’ve worked for could be taken away with the stroke of a pen. When people talk about a change, make sure they understand what a change is.”


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