From the Desk of David Calderon,
I recently had the opportunity to attend a retiree luncheon with some of our retirees in the San Jose area. These Gentlemen easily surpassed 200 years’ worth of craft experience. This knowledge comes from working day in and day out over many years. I enjoyed watching them talk about the old days, you could tell by listening to their stories that they took great pride in the work they did over the years. It was evident that they were enjoying the camaraderie in the room, as the Tile members poked fun at the Brick members and vice versa. I’m sure that these guys trained many of our current members in the field when they were running jobs as lead men and foreman in their respective crafts. This is how most of our skills are acquired, on the job, learning from our elders who are passing down what they were taught by those before them.
Our apprentices learn a lot in the apprenticeship schools but some things you just can’t learn in a classroom setting. It’s the on-the-job training that we get in the field that molds us into the type of craftsman we will become throughout our careers. The work ethic you retain from watching guys twice your age work harder and faster than the young guys. All the tricks and techniques you learn from them that they acquired through many years of practice and repetition so that it becomes second nature, making it look easy. We all remember the first time we tried to copy what our journeyman were doing and realized we had a lot to learn. The cycle of education and experience that is passed down between journeyman and apprentice is something that needs to be recognized and reinforced as we move forward. Although we are becoming more efficient with the materials and the tools of our trades, the fact remains that the future of our unions and its members depends on our Journey workers passing down the knowledge and skills to the next generation to take their place. There must be a relationship of respect with both and a willingness to learn as well as to teach. I appreciate the journeyman I worked with while I was learning my craft and I believe I passed down what I learned to the apprentices who worked with me over the years.
I would like to say thank you to our retirees in this picture as well as all the others who literally paved the way for us to follow with their many years of dedication and service to our union. We appreciate you all and I’m proud to follow in your footsteps.