New York, NY – This year’s edition of the National Labor & Management Conference [NLMC] will take place February 17-22. The purpose of 45th annual conference is to provide Taft-Hartley trustees and their staff with updates aimed at helping them with their day-to-day responsibilities and in the planning and management of their funds.
Barbara McCabe, manager and director of the NLMC, gave LaborPress a preview of what attendees can expect from this year’s event.
LP: What is the focus of the conference this year?
BM: This year’s focus is infrastructure and the key role labor can play in these projects. We’ll also be devoting time to the power labor unions and the wider labor-management community have, and arguably the obligation, to influence these investments for the betterment of workers and the wider society. Now is the time to clearly define what labor and the labor-management community want reflected so that these funds serve as catalysts for social and economic revival.
[Other areas of focus include] what are the priorities in quality job creation, better wages, worker training, ‘Made in America’ materials, collective bargaining, ending systemic discrimination and other imperatives? How can they be addressed in our infrastructure renewal and expansion?
LP: Who are some of the speakers?
BM: Labor leadership, including Joseph Sellers, general president, SMART; Terry O’Sullivan, president, LiUNA; Mark McManus, international president, United Association; John Samuelsen, international president, Transport Workers Union; Brad Markell, executive director, AFL-CIO Industrial Union Council; Jeffrey Freund, director, Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS); Sean McGarvey, president, North America’s Building Trades Union; Dan Kane, president, Local 202 and International Trustee, Teamsters — and more.
LP: What are some other standout issues or topics that will be addressed?
BM: There are two standout issues: infrastructure and the power of labor unions going forward. 2021 was the year of the strike and great strides have been made in the labor community. Currently, labor unions are poised to play a key role in a wide variety of infrastructure projects, setting the priorities in quality job creation, better wages, worker training, ‘Made in America’ materials, collective bargaining, ending systemic discrimination and other imperatives.
LP: How has Covid affected the event?
BM: Many of our attendees are first responders who sustained us during the darkest days of the pandemic and we owe them our deepest gratitude. These days also highlighted these workers and underscored how critical their roles are to society. They are our inspiration for this year’s themes of infrastructure and the power of Labor.
Last year’s in-person meeting was cancelled due to Covid and our audience is anxious to return to in-person meetings. We are monitoring Covid outbreaks and are confident the 2022 in-person meeting will be successful. Current forecasts call for a surge in January that will diminish at the end of the month. We are most concerned about the safety and welfare of our participants and will continue to monitor conditions. Our venue has made several Covid-appropriate modifications that will benefit the meeting.
LP: Is there a standout message or theme that you will be hoping to get across?
BM: The NLMC has designed a program that will be meaningful to all attendees. The discussion of infrastructure projects, their effect on the labor community, the potential for labor to drive meaningful change for all workers.
LP: Where can people learn more and register?