Hite delivered his speech to a packed, standing-room-only room. Also, local UA apprentices were in the audience. Hite outlined a number of ways the UA will strengthen the construction union labor market throughout the country.
”Increased market share - that's what it's all about,” he said.
Although Hite mentioned a number of studies that conclude that the unions' prescence in the construction market is in the low teens percentage-wise, he added that, according to their own studies, the figure might be a more healthy 30 percent, but he quickly added that unions used to account for 85 percent of construction jobs.
He painted an optimistic future for construction, particularly in energy-related operations. Hite went on to explain how the unions will do just that; for example, an unorthodox method was the banking initiative, where union officers have been taking to officials of the largest banks in the nation, telling them that the UA represents 330,000 members and billions of dollars in pensions.
”What we've said is that we'll help promote your bank and its services, but in return, we want 100 percent of your construction and service jobs,” Hite said.
Ballard SpeechAlso speaking today was oceanographer Dr. Robert Ballard, who has conducted more than 100 deep-sea expeditions, the most famous being the wreck of the Titanic in 1985.
He talked very little about the Titanic, but spoke on the tremendous potential of the planet's oceans. The country spends three times the amount of money exploring space than its oceans, he said; why not redirect some of that money to exploring the vastness of our oceans and the life that is found there?
He said he has found many prehistoric species in the deep sea, and much could be learned from them.