Construction workers memorial at St. Pat's in New York

Remembering Our Brethren
by Bill Hohlfeld, Local 46

Yesterday, in New York City, the second annual Memorial Mass for fallen construction workers was held at St. Patrick's Cathedral where, to the strains of IBEW bagpipes about 1000 people gathered and honored the memory of the 18 construction workers who lost their lives in the past year.. Father Brian Jordan, chaplain to the NYC Building Trades said the Mass and his homily centered on solidarity and the dignity of work. He stressed the fact that the economy exists to support people. People do not exist for the sake of wealth accumulation. Local 46 was well represented, not only bits elected officers and members who filled the pews, but also by our own Business Manager, Bob Ledwith,who took his place at the pulpit for the second reading of the Mass.

In addition to the Building Trades, present on the altar were members of the Building Trades Employers Association, OSHA representatives and the NYC Buildings Department. Eighteen chairs, empty except for roses, were on the altar too; one to represent each fallen worker. The goal was set by Father Jordan to celebrate the Mass next year with no empty chairs. He went on to say that in his perfect world, every construction worker would be a union member with wages and benefits workers need and deserve.

Gary La Barbera, President of the New York City Building Trades went on to offer condolences, and thanked the representatives of employers and government agencies for taking the time to recognize the tragedy of each lost life within the construction industry. This year, the ceremony was particularly poignant for our Local, as on March 18th, we lost one of our own - a 28 year old Apprentice, Anthony Paino, who, soon to become a Journeyman and soon to be married, fell ten stories to his death. May we all remember him in our prayers.


Taking a little time away from the main site

Having a little fun with Facebook

You can join me under my name Joseph Michael Worker (link to the right->the Rats behind)

I'm actually finding it really easy to add stories from other sites, gotta try and find a way to get that feed into this site easily

Click the link below to see my ideas about Facebook


Bendygirl Was on The Radio Today!!

No, seriously.

Rick Smith of the Rick Smith Radio Show interviewed me about blogging.

And Rick Rocks:
Rick grew up in a housing project on the West Side of Cleveland, OH. He was literally poor whitey in the hood. SNIP Rick is currently a 19 year member of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and Vice-President of the International Labor Communications Association, www.ilcaonline.org.

There's more on the flip

I'm just amazed at how much I have in common with this guy, all the way to getting drunk on the same college campus probably during the same years!! Here's more of Rick's Rocky-ness!!

When John Kerry lost in 2004 Rick realized that he had to do more. So on Labor Day weekend 2005 Rick began his radio journey. United for Progress was born out of frustration and optimism as a vehicle to add balance to the conservative controlled airwaves. 2008 looks to be a very positive year and the Rick Smith Show will be on the front lines.

Kind of cool, huh? Well, there's more, you see I was a bad, bad girl...

Here's the thing, I couldn't stick to the script. The script being blogging. That was the topic, but talking about blogging when I'm not actually blogging, ugh. Instead, I decided I wanted to talk about a recent diary I posted on DKos, a rescued diary, thank you very much.

I was able to talk about women in the labor movement, women like Mandy from Ohio and how she's now driving a dump truck and getting steady apprenticeship work through her union. And why is she getting steadier work now? Well there was this little thing called the Stimulus Bill. She's working a Shovel Ready Project. As a single mom with two little girls, that steady pay check is important, very important. But what I love about Mandy's story is that she'd been working at a Good Year service center and had been promised that she'd be able to get certified to be a mechanic. She kept working there, watching as her male counter parts hired after her just kept getting promoted or trained and she couldn't. So, she applied for the apprenticeship program and although it was hard at first to make ends meet during the first part of the apprenticeship, she's now got steadier work, makes more than she did at Good Year and is moving up the ranks, toward a journeyman level.

I also got to talk about how the Employee Free Choice act will have a greater impact on women in the labor force than it will on men. My point on this piece was that women make different choices when we take a job. It might be because we're thinking about the hours, getting kids to school or trying to figure out a way to be home to make dinner. We simply think differently about working and how to work than our male counterparts.

That's when Rick made an excellent point. In a union, everyone knows what everyone else makes. You see, it's part of the contract. But women outside of unions don't get this break, take the story about Mandy. She discovered after the fact, that men hired after she was were getting paid more. When waited tables, male servers made more than we did. My mom always said it's because people think they're raising a family and need a higher wage. But so are we.

So, if you get a minute, check out the audio file. I'd love to hear what everyone has to say. And, if I'm on again, what do you think I should talk about? Keep in mind, I'm pretty labor and women focused, but I really would like some new ideas. Who knows where those thoughts could lead me?

And, in case you missed it at the top, here's the audio file again:
Rick Smith Radio Show