Search the LHSFNA website
Published: January, 2009; Vol 5, Num 8

Message of the Co-Chairmen (January, 2009)

Crisis and Hope
In our lives, it’s never been this bad. In 2008, the collapse of the housing market brought down financial institutions all over the world. Credit dried up, commercial activity screeched to a halt, layoffs shot up and hard times were upon us. 
At the same time, 2008 brought Americans the most exciting and invigorating election in decades. Calling for change in Washington, D.C., Barack Obama won a resounding victory by reaching across the nation’s long-standing divides. Unions, minorities, young voters and the embattled middle class rallied to his cause. 
In November, the voters also installed strong Democratic majorities in both the House and the Senate. Just in time, the voters have turned the government in a new direction.
No one can deny that our problems are immense. Yet, as the government gets moving, LIUNA and our signatory employers are well-prepared to weather the storm. It seems clear that the new President and Congress will soon enact the most massive, yet appropriately-focused infrastructure investment program in American history. It will rebuild our roads, bridges and schools while also constructing wind and solar power stations and a new electrical grid. This program will put Laborers to work and strengthen the nation’s economic base for decades to come.
However, it will take time to get money and construction moving again. Indeed, government efforts will ultimately amount to but a small portion of the total required to reignite the economy. While we grind slowly through the recession, many families of Laborers and their neighbors will endure serious hardship. These are hard times and we’d be foolish if we did not adjust. It starts in every family, as you make assessments and face difficult choices. In this issue of LIFELINES, we offer some help, both in facing your financial choices and in communicating with your children. In addition, we provide some guidance for managing stress and sustaining your health and fitness.
As you do what you must to manage the stress of this crisis, be assured that LIUNA and the Laborers’ Health and Safety Fund of North America will do whatever is possible to ease this transition. We are excited about working with the new leadership that is coming to Washington, not only to the White House and Congress, but also to the many cabinet posts and agencies that affect your lives in the field. For instance, we expect to see significant change at the Department of Labor and OSHA, and we are well-positioned to help shape its direction.
Hard times are here, but crisis demands change and President-elect Obama inspires hope. What is needed now is strength, endurance and creative hard work. These are attributes Laborers possess in abundance, so our future is bright.