Heartfelt Letter From A Sheet Metal Local 36 Spouse

April 7, 2017

Appreciation from the wife of a Union Member
With the Right to Work Bill being in the news lately I feel the need to show my appreciation to Local 36.
We were a young couple having our first child when my husband joined Local 36 Sheet Metal Union. My husband and I did not have a college education. It was not something we thought we could succeed with at that time of our lives.
My husband and I were married at the young age of 19. We worked hard but with the expected arrival of our first child when we were 25 he knew he needed a better education in order to make a better living.
He was on the list to become an apprentice with Local 36. It was scary because at that time he was driving a truck. Driving was a good job but he was not going to advance financially at that job and we had to think more about the future.
It was shortly after our first son was born that he got the call to become an apprentice with the Sheet Metal Union.
What did this mean to us…
1. He took a huge cut in pay at that time knowing that he would be in better shape once he was a Journeyman.
2. He would be able to get a great education in the industry.
3. It would take years of classes and studying.
4. He would be employed in a great job and if the company he was with did not have work he would be put on the list and the union would help place him with another company to work.
5. He would be able to work hard knowing that he had fair pay and if he worked overtime he would be compensated fairly.
6. We would know that we had great insurance for our growing family.
7. He would know that if there were any reason something was not handled fairly he would have the union to go to in order to remedy the situation if needed.
8. He has had great benefits that have helped us to plan for our retirement future.
What did this mean to the construction industry…
1. The industry had the help of the Union to find workers for the jobs they needed to fill.
2. The contractors would have a source to find well educated qualified workers to work on the construction sites.
What did this mean to the average American…
1. The building we would either live in or visit on a daily basis were safe for us because they were built by well educated workers that were taught with safety in mind. Safety for all.
2. Because the workers made a fair salary they would be able to afford to purchase things like homes, cars, clothes, go on vacations, provide for their children, buy appliances for their home and so so so much more. This is good for America as other industries and companies can also prosper.
My husband and I are about to celebrate our 37th anniversary and I had never been worried about our livelihood thanks to the hard work of my husband and the support of Local 36, Sheet Metal Union.
Unfortunately I am now scared for our future and the future of all union workers. The unions have done so so much to improve the working conditions for all union members and now I fear that many will suffer and work harder for much less pay. I also fear that their safety as well as the average American’s safety will be jeopardized if the workers are not trained well. Without proper training how will the industry retain the quality standards we have now. This really does scare me.
I can not say enough about how WONDERFUL our life has been because my husband was a Union Worker. It has been a hard life because he had to work hard but he has received a great education and continuing education as well as extremely fair pay and benefits.
I can not understand why this needs to change.