The first days of a new year are a time to reflect on the past 12 months and make plans for the next; a time to give thanks for each other, to evaluate what we accomplished together, and to assess where we hope to be when we find ourselves together again at the holidays next year.
Here at TWU, 2016 was a monumental year. We organized a record number of new members into our union, bringing union representation to working people in the airline, transit, and service sectors. We launched the TWU app, offering real-time updates and news alerts to our members on-the-go, and increased our presence on social media and through our monthly e-newsletter, Shop Talk, because you told us you wanted more information from your International union. We successfully bargained and ratified new contracts in all of our divisions, including for some of our largest locals, including Local 556, and Local 234, ending a transit strike in Philadelphia just before Election Day.
We held more trainings for our International staff and local officers and invested new resources into growing our training program, so we can ensure TWU has a deep bench of talent for many years to come. And we mobilized two of the largest strategic campaign efforts this union has ever seen under the direction of our International Campaign Unit: the “Today We Unite” internal organizing campaign at American Airlines, which continues to support our brothers and sisters at the bargaining table with the company, and helped them win an interim wage agreement that included increases for all of our members at the airline. And our Election 2016 “get-out-the-vote” campaign, which produced an unprecedented effort from TWU members around the country.
I have been proud to be a member of this union for most of my adult life, and I’ve been proud to be its International President for the last three years. But I’ve never been more proud to be a part of something as big as TWU than I was in 2016. We are finally doing what we set out to do three years ago at our convention, where we promised big change and real action. I see it every day in the commitment and enthusiasm from you, our members, and I am inspired to keep working toward making TWU the fighting, militant powerhouse our founder intended us to be.
We won’t win every battle we fight. But in this movement, we get up and keep fighting, because there are too many people counting on us. My hope for 2017 is that we enter each battle stronger, more unified, and ready to have each other’s backs. Let’s get to work.
Harry Lombardo, International President