Hard Hat Encounters Re-Visited

Last summer I worked with a construction crew on the site of a new ten-story building in our area. I was one of two men on the clean-up crew, following the sheet-rockers around, picking up and disposing of debris. I also swept floors, stacked materials, cleaned out five gallon paint buckets, and cleaned the bathrooms, just to mention a few of the other things I did on site.

It was a lot of hard, hot work, but it was a great experience. Not only did it generate income for my family between school semesters, I had the opportunity to meet and get to know a lot of really good men. In fact, I posted several articles on this blog if you’d be interested in reading them. You can find them here and here.

In the morning I am going  to start my summer work with the same construction crew on the same construction site. I am not sure if I will be on the clean-up crew again. All I know is that the push is on to complete the project this summer and there may be some painting involved.

I’m also not sure about the number of hours I am going to work each week. Last summer I worked as many as 53 per week.

The work week may start off at forty hours but the foreman told me that as the project gets closer to completion we can expect to see longer days. Saturdays and Sundays may eventually be added to the schedule.

I am looking forward to seeing which of the men that I worked with last summer are still on the job. They were a great bunch of men who had different histories, stories, and experiences. Most of the men were young men with young families.

Working on the construction crew gave me a deep appreciation for men who work hard with their hands all day at hard labor, labor that often goes unrecognized and is mostly unappreciated by the general public.

And, I came to identify myself with those men, and countless numbers of other men and women like them in our nation, and around the world, who are the producers of almost everything that we eat, use,  live in, wear, watch, drive on, and possess.

I have come to see myself as being one of them … the working class

Explore posts in the same categories: Labor, Social-Economic Justice, Uncategorized, Unions

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