Now that the coronavirus pandemic has turned our world upside down, maybe we will be able to bring back some of the beautiful workmanship that has been lost due to slap-’em-up make-another-nickel profiteering. We have had a throw-away culture for far too long. To make something or repair something is to give ourselves the satisfaction of a job well done. Unions have protected workers, given them remarkable skills, and that could be an important part of our new economy.
President Barack Obama sent out his Labor Day tweet honoring one such workman, Maurice Harris. He will soon help build the Obama Presidential Center. This president said:
‘Labor Day is about honoring folks like Maurice Harris—a devoted husband and father of five, who has spent his career working in the trades in Chicago. He’ll soon help build our Obama Presidential Center. Here’s his incredible story:’
Harris knows that what he does is honorable work, as are most of the new trades jobs. And they are open to men and women, any race, any religion, any level of education. Obama sent his second tweet:
‘This Labor Day, let’s honor all the working men and women who make this country what it is—and the American labor movement that has helped protect them, especially during this pandemic.’
Harris has provided for his family through the trades, President Obama wrote. While he is in plumbing, there are many trade opportunities where a person can go home every day after completing an important task. Not only that, he or she can leave the job instead of taking it home with them every night. For example, imagine the satisfaction of creating a tile floor such as this one:
With President Joe Biden’s new family infrastructure bill and separate traditional infrastructure bill, there will be ample good-paying jobs. He has undertaken bringing back the middle- and working classes that top tech and other corporate robber barons have stolen. The trades are still wide open for Americans.
Harris said he went through a rough time as a kid:
‘Back then I was destroying everything, but now I’m building everything around me.’
His world fell apart when he was 19, when his father died:
‘I joined a gang and was in it for about ten years. I decided to get away from that life, though, because I wanted a better future for my family, and I wanted to set a good example for my sons and show them that there’s a better life out there for them.’
The trades may not require a high school degree but offer an apprentice type of education. Harris said:
‘Getting to where I am now hasn’t been easy, so it means the world to be a journey level plumber and have the opportunity to work on a project like the Obama Presidential Center. I’m on cloud nine.’
‘I can’t explain how wonderful it’s been. I make a fair wage, I’m a part of a brotherhood that cherishes their families and loves them deeply, and everyone wants to go home safely. I’m in the best place I could ever be at in my life.’
Many trades programs are “saving people’s lives and giving people who don’t know how to get help a place to go” Harris said:
‘Chicago ain’t [sic] just violence and rap music videos, it’s not that. I’m on the South Side right now, and everybody on my block goes to work or is doing something every day. They’re not hanging out or creating harm. Chicago isn’t just a bad place, it’s a really nice place. We’re all working people here. And we don’t get enough credit for it.’
Three White Lions podcast, Gloria Christie reads her week’s most important news/ commentary stories in the liberal online newspaper The Bipartisan Report. Gloria Christie Report her newsletter for people on the go. Written in her own unique style with a twist of humor in a briefer version of Bipartisan Report. Christie’s Mueller Report Adventures In Bite-Sizes a real-life compelling spy mystery. Find her here on Facebook.