What I’m saying, doing and thinking

Upcoming Events

December 5, 2018
Concord CA
Plumbers and Pipefitters Union 342

January 9, 2019
Tukwila WA
Ironworkers Local 86

January 17-19, 2019
Houston TX
Electrical Workers Minority Caucus National Conference (tentative)

January 22, 2019
Portland OR
Sheet Metal Local 16

January 28-30, 2019
San Jose CA  3 events
Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 393

February 2019
Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters  multiple events (tentative)

February 2019
Spokane WA
Ironworkers Local 14 (TBD)

March 12, 2019
Boise ID
Sheet Metal Local 55

March 23, 2019
Buffalo NY
Western NY Area Labor Federation Annual Meeting

April 2019
Washington Public Employees Association (TBD)

April 2, 2019
Everett WA
Sheet Metal Local 66

April 16, 2019
Pasco WA
Sheet Metal Local 55

April 23, 2019
Portland OR
Sheet Metal Northwest District Council (tentative)

April – May, 2019
Toronto CA
Millwrights Local 2309 (tentative)

July 9, 2019
Portland OR
Sheet Metal Local 16

July 16-18, 2019
Chester WV 2 events
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers 4th District

October 1, 2019
Everett WA
Sheet Metal Local 66

2019: [TBD]  Iron Workers Locals 27 (Salt Lake City UT), 29 (Portland OR) and Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 290 (Tualatin OR)

May 13, 2020
Napa CA
California Pipe Trades Council State Convention

New workshop: “Fighting for Our Democracy and Our Future in the Age of Trump”

I launched this new interactive workshop to inspire and help union activists and community members be more effective in fighting forward against the Trump regime, its allies and Corporate America.  This video version is titled:  “Fighting for Our Unions, Our Democracy and Our Future.”  It is critical that we understand that our ancestors faced the “divide and conquer” strategies of Corporate America and its allies.  These strategies were based on racism, sexism, anti-immigrant hatred and other forms of bigotry and are being used once again to divide working people and our nation.  Learning from our ancestors’ successes and failures is critical in our efforts to fight forward toward a better future for all of us. Click here to view Powerpoint presentation.

“Your inspirational message to our delegates was educational and thought provoking.” – Lonnie StephensonInternational President, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)

“Your presentation was impressive. We will be in touch.” – Richard LaniganInternational President, Office of Professional Employees International Union

“Mark presented at our National Electrical Workers Minority Caucus’ 28th Annual Leadership Conference in Detroit. His presentation was riveting as he held the delegates’ attention throughout. Mark’s workshops were overflowing and delegates overwhelmingly requested he be invited back. Thank you.” – Keith EdwardsNational President, EWMC, Detroit MI

“Your presentation was indeed AWESOME! You were personally inspiring. I hope we can bring you back to speak to a larger audience. In Unity.” – Vonda McDanielPresident, Central Labor Council of Nashville and Middle Tennessee and Executive Council Member of the national AFL-CIO.

Making the American Dream Real for Everyone


This video is my 2018 speech in Seattle at the Cement Masons Local 528’s Orientation Day for new apprentices and union members.  The topic was “Making the American Dream Real for Everyone.” Its tells an updated 125-year history of working people’s fight to build our labor movement and the American Dream.  It provides inspiration and valuable lessons about our successes and failures and what we can learn from our history to help us fight forward toward a better future for all.  It is an updated version of the 2013 IBEW video seen below. Click here to view the Powerpoint presentation.This video is my speech at IBEW’s National Membership Development meeting in Las Vegas in 2013. Click here to view that Powerpoint presentation.

Video: “Making Retirement Security Real for Everyone” @ WA State Labor Council Convention

Check out my speech on the nationwide campaign to defend and expand retirement security, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid:

These great programs, which benefit hundreds of millions of Americans, are under relentless attacks by the Trump regime and their Republican and corporate allies. I work with a great organization, Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action (PSARA) which is leading this fight in Washington state. Check out our website, PSARA.ORG, and join the organization. It is only $20 and you get a great monthly newsletter. Please donate more.

If you are a member of an organization that would like a presentation or workshop on this important issue, please reach out to me or our organizer, Mike Andrew, at organizer@psara.org or (206) 261-8110.

I would love feedback on this video.

In the news: “Labor’s future in the age of Trump”

The Northwest Labor Press wrote me up this month in “Labor’s Future In the Age of Trump” (June 7, 2017), writing:

At union conventions, apprenticeship classes, and public forums, McDermott delivers a message: Working people need to understand and learn from history, both the good and the bad, if they want to rebuild the labor movement and take the country back.

Newsletter #3 Published

My third newsletter is a compilation of analysis and tactical solutions to aid in our struggle in strengthening democracy and building a more just, equitable and sustainable world. My central argument is that the Trump regime with Republicans would escalate their years-long efforts to suppress voting to steal future elections. Check it out and subscribe now!

Here are newsletters #1 and #2.

The theft of the next election is already under way

If you care about the right of the people to fairly choose our elected officials, you should be paying close attention to these systematic efforts: The theft of the next election is under way.

The Democratic Party is losing the working class

Understanding why is the key to rebuilding a populist progressive movement. This was published recently in the The Stand, The Democratic Party is losing the working class


Scroll down or use the links above to find out about upcoming events, endorsements, and more. If you want to connect please email me or visit my Facebook page.

Fighting for Our Democracy and Our Future in the Age of Trump

Dear Union Brothers and Sisters:

I want to continue helping you build a stronger, more inclusive labor movement in the coming months and years and build momentum to win the critical 2018 and 2020 elections.  Since 2011, I have given 366 speeches, interactive workshops and trainings in 18 states across the country.  I have spoken to national, regional, state, and local conventions and meetings of 27 international Unions and their affiliates, state federations, local labor and building trades councils, and apprenticeship programs.  I will go anywhere in the country to help you move our fight forward toward a better future.

My seven workshops listed below can be presented in an interactive format or as a stand-alone speech.  They can be tailored to your needs.

  1. “Fighting for Our Unions, Our Democracy and Our Future in the Age of Trump” draws powerful connections between the “divide and conquer” strategies used by Corporate America and its allies 100 years ago and their use again today. What can be learn from our ancestors’ successes and failures that will make us more effective in building a powerful labor and people’s movement to take our country back.
  2. “Making the American Dream Real for Everyone” focuses on the rise and fall of unions and our allies over the past 125 years in our fight to share fairly in the wealth we produce and build a more just and equitable country, and how we can rebuild our power.
  3. “Winning Big in Hard Times” explores the rise and fall of unions and our allies in strengthening our democracy and how we can reclaim our democracy.
  4. “Which Side of History Are You On?” centers on Corporate America’s counterattack against our movement and our allies over the past 40 years and how disunity between labor and our potential community allies and movements weakened us. Most importantly we learn about major successes that new labor/communities alliances are winning.
  5. Speaking from the Heart to Win Community Allies” encourages participants to speak from their hearts and use better messaging techniques as they reach out to non-union workers and current and potential community allies.
  6. “Reaching Out to Young Workers and Young People” explores the generation gaps of the 1960s and today and stimulates discussions about better ways to encourage our very progressive youth to greater activism in our unions and communities.
  7. “Train the Trainer” teaches participants a range of skills needed to run workshops of different contents and varying lengths. These skills can be used to run workshops that are content-focused like the “American Dream” workshop as well as a communications or messaging workshop like the “Speaking from the Heart”

My work combines personal and family stories and experiences, finding our common ground of economic hard times and our concerns about the future for ourselves and our young people and our shared American Dream.  We explore critical lessons about how we move forward to change the direction of our labor movement and country.  The work also highlights significant victories that labor and our allies are winning across the country which are largely hidden from us.

I look forward to working with you in the months and years ahead.  Please feel free to contact me.

In closing, I want you to know I donate all of my speaking fees to progressive pro-labor organizations and candidates and people in need.  This is my way of paying forward the great blessings that my family has received from the decades-long fights of organized labor.

Mark M. McDermott

Endorsements

He is one of the best at informing and motivating

He presents a unique perspective from a historical point of view by comparing labor’s modern day challenges with the overwhelming challenges of workers’ organizing efforts in the 19th and 20th centuries. His personal story of how he became a union activist makes for a very interesting and compelling discussion about not only the labor movement but activism in general. I have attended more conferences and listened to more speakers than I can count in my 43 years in the IBEW. Many were interesting and informative but very few as compelling as Mark. He is one of the best at informing and motivating.

Don Siegel, IBEW 3rd District International VP, Pennsylvania

2017-01-24T15:52:58+00:00

Don Siegel, IBEW 3rd District International VP, Pennsylvania

He presents a unique perspective from a historical point of view by comparing labor’s modern day challenges with the overwhelming challenges of workers’ organizing efforts in the 19th and 20th centuries. His personal story of how he became a union activist makes for a very interesting and compelling discussion about not only the labor movement but activism in general. I have attended more conferences and listened to more speakers than I can count in my 43 years in the IBEW. Many were interesting and informative but very few as compelling as Mark. He is one of the best at informing and motivating.

I strongly recommend Mark

Mark inspired and electrified our Region 9 leadership conference with a clear message of how we, as organized labor and working people, can once again lead our nation toward greater justice and security for all. I strongly recommend Mark to any union wanting to inspire and educate their leaders and activists about the road forward.

Cindy Estrada, International Vice President, United Auto Workers Union

2017-01-24T15:56:34+00:00

Cindy Estrada, International Vice President, United Auto Workers Union

Mark inspired and electrified our Region 9 leadership conference with a clear message of how we, as organized labor and working people, can once again lead our nation toward greater justice and security for all. I strongly recommend Mark to any union wanting to inspire and educate their leaders and activists about the road forward.

We get a sense of optimism and hope

What is most valuable about Mark’s workshops is the recognition that as we remember our history, we get a sense of optimism and hope that when we come together and focus on what we have in common, rather than what divides us, we can overcome seemingly impossible odds and make progressive change.

Jeff Johnson, President, Washington State Labor Council

2017-01-24T15:58:03+00:00

Jeff Johnson, President, Washington State Labor Council

What is most valuable about Mark’s workshops is the recognition that as we remember our history, we get a sense of optimism and hope that when we come together and focus on what we have in common, rather than what divides us, we can overcome seemingly impossible odds and make progressive change.

When we were flat broke Mark did another free workshop for us

It is unbelievable that when we were flat broke, Mark did another free workshop for us and we got more financial and community support for our struggle to organize farm workers. The audience was energized with the will to fight on and we raised money to help us continue to move forward.

Ramon Torres, President, Familias Unidas Por La Justicia (independent farm worker union), Bellingham WA

2017-04-26T21:02:17+00:00

Ramon Torres, President, Familias Unidas Por La Justicia (independent farm worker union), Bellingham WA

It is unbelievable that when we were flat broke, Mark did another free workshop for us and we got more financial and community support for our struggle to organize farm workers. The audience was energized with the will to fight on and we raised money to help us continue to move forward.

What are others saying about my work?