Cheers to business manager Charlie Metz and all the members of Plasterers & Cement Masons Local 926 for their volunteer efforts at the PHS stadium remodel. I would venture to say that 95 percent of the readers have absolutely no idea of how demanding and grueling their craft can be. These men are truly skilled craftspeople.
But this is more than about sweat, hard work and sore backs. This is about union members giving back to their community. Lately union-bashing has become full-time sport for many who wish to pad their political resumes or for CEO's looking to acquire that seventh vacation home in some exotic foreign location. I can almost certainly guarantee that those folks have never poured 2,400 square feet of concrete in a day's time!
Charlie and his men are a vital part of our community. They live here, raise children here, pay taxes here, support veteran organizations here, become active church members here, coach youth sports here, purchase homes and automobiles here and many other diverse activities they are truly invested in our community.
Contrast this to many of the recent "boom workers" who have descended on West Virginia. Sure they may help a landlord prosper and dine in a few local restaurants/bars, but they more than likely will never become truly invested in our community.
Charlie's men work hard all week, often 10 or 12 hours a day and many times are asked to work Saturdays and Sundays so a project can be put back on schedule. They are deserving of a decent wage, medical insurance and a pension for when they are older. These are just simple, basic parts of employment that every worker should have. This is a worker's security and when a worker is secure many, like Charlie's, chose to give back to their community a little of the good fortune they have been blessed with.
As election season nears, one will hear the same old worn out false rhetoric about how "unions have outlived their usefulness" or how they "damage a community's bottom line." Well don't believe the lies, often being funded by business partners/political donors that reside out of state or even out of our country.
The main thing to remember is the fine workers that donated to a project and their community as you walk that wonderful new sidewalk to a Big Red home game!