a flame of a candle

A Hopeful Christmas

Solidarity Sunday: A Hopeful Christmas

I'm praying for young men this Christmas.

As a father of 3 boys, and a fellow union member, maybe it's just my antenna naturally being tuned to the plight of young men these days, but I don't think so. We're seeing it everywhere and it can no longer be ignored. Men of all backgrounds, races, and creeds are hurting. You can see it in the rise in homelessness, in mental health issues, in drug addiction, in fatherlessness, in lack of drive, purpose, and meaning. You're seeing it in our court system, in our streets, in our communities. Men's mental health is something we don't talk about. It's a problem…locally, regionally, nationally. Too many stories of men, some in our own local unions, taking their own lives leaving behind devastated family, friends, co-workers, and community.

Just this past week, we had the pleasure of shooting a YouthBuild video with famed rapper and community activist Killer Mike, who has been a huge advocate for inner city boys learning marketable skills and finding a place in the building trade unions, and his message was the same. Boys and young men are in trouble. The national news cycle is filled with the terrible tragedy of the popular entertainer Stephen 'tWitch' Boss, who inexplicably took his own life while seemingly having it all…money, fame, family.

While it is certainly important that we continue to focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion when we are organizing and recruiting, we must not forget that 95+% of people who make up our trade unions are men.

The good news is there is hope, and that hope lies with us. While we can't be all things to all men, our local unions can provide an excellent place for men to find that hope. We provide a place of belonging. We provide a purpose that is bigger than themselves, with a network of brothers and sisters who have their back. We provide a skills training environment, and a proven apprenticeship model that that breeds confidence and competency. We provide a hierarchy and a clear path to work one's way up into a great career. Some locals are even offering debt counseling, family counseling, and life skills. That message needs to be heard by every young person, particularly young men, that we can reach.

Anyone who knows us knows that this is Union Up's greater mission…to help local unions grow membership and market share, and by doing so, provide working men a place to find their footing, purpose and meaning.

We wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Hopeful New Year.


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