For All You Do, Thank YOU!  

Often, union members are not acknowledged for their contributions to companies, cities, hell, even the political process. But this past Friday, the Washington Post deep inside the newspaper’s print edition and again on the web (yeah, I can link to it!) did a story on the building of the new DC Nationals’ Stadium. This was a PUBLICLY funded project, so I won’t be mentioning the owner of the Nats from here on out, I’m not a fan of his. Instead, I’ll be focusing on what the Post’s Hamil R. Harris Focused on, the workers.

…for nearly two years, the sprawling site off South Capitol Street SE was the domain of men and women who wore hard hats instead of baseball helmets, leather boots instead of spikes.

People such as Theodore Richmond, who helped pour the concrete for Nationals Park. And Christopher Shrewsberry, who helped put in thousands of seats. And Veronica Salas, who made sure the workers were lined up and ready for their latest assignments.

More than 2,700 people helped build the ballpark -- immigrants, war veterans, people on their first jobs, longtime D.C. residents, tradesmen and women who traveled hundreds of miles for a chance to work on the project. Electricians, ironworkers, carpenters, plumbers, laborers, you name it, tended to the details. They celebrated last summer when the last beam was put in place by construction workers. History was being made, an electrician said at the time. Then everyone went back to work on the plumbing, wiring and other tasks that were yet to be done.

For all the unsung hero’s like Local 40 Ironworkers at the World Trade Center or locals 262 and 235 UAW out on strike in Michigan at American Axle, this is for you…

"During the first phase, I helped pour the concrete. In the second phase, I did the insulation. In the third phase, I am installing TVs, desks, anything to do with the offices. . . . There aren't a lot of things that you can be proud of in your life. I think that this will be one of the things. It will be something that I can show my kids years down the road. I helped build the stadium. . . . This will be one of my war stories. I've never been to war, but this will be one of the stories that I will be telling."
Theodore Richmond, 33
Southeast Washington, Laborer

and another

"We did the scoreboard. It is a beautiful thing to look at that big screen."
Herbert Brown, 57
Northeast Washington,
Electrician apprentice

PS, there are a number of apprenticeship programs out there. Ironworkers in NY have a site dedicated to their programs , DC government has one, Hard Hatted Women in Cleveland trains women for the trades. There’s even a program for transitioning veterans and guards members called Helmets to Hard Hats and the Boilermakers have a post up now.

How about a few more comments?

"I think this is a good project because Latinos and African Americans are working together. Our workers are proud of this project. Even apprentices come here to practice and learn more. It is a sense of pride. . . . Our members are happy to be part of this."
Veronica Salas, 32
Staff, Laborers' International
Union of North America
Northeast Washington, Laborer

"I am putting in the fiber-optic cable for the camera setup to capture the speed of the ball. I'm a Nats fan. This means a lot. There is a lot of history around here. I will bring my kids here when they get a little older."
George Kerr
Indian Head, Electrician

For all that unions members do around this country, thank you. Thank you, Thank you, THANK YOU!!


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