March 22, 2021

Al PhillipsMANY OF US IN THE BUILDING TRADES have had the fortunate experience of having family and friends in the business. I myself had my father, who is a plumber by trade and has been working in the industry his whole life. Being a plumber allowed him to support his family, build a pension for his retirement and become involved in a great movement.

I had the privilege of being surrounded by union tradespeople from a very young age. Some of these individuals were from the same trade as my father, while others worked in different construction trades. They were a diverse group of people brought together by similar values that always interested me. I often listened to their conversations and stories, and the pride they shared in their trade was not lost on me. Starting an apprenticeship was not a decision I struggled with – I wanted in.

I am sure you have all heard this and if you haven’t, you have probably said it yourself, to your friends, your kids and family: ‘See that? I built that!’ As we all know, we as tradespeople are very proud of the work we do. Isn’t it funny that we all say that, but we know it takes a well co-ordinated professional team to build any project?

Many people in society go to work at the same place every day, performing the same work with the same people, often with no tangible result. What makes our jobs so great is that we are often involved in the planning, preparation, ramp up, build, startup, commissioning, and maintenance of some of the most interesting and significant pieces of infrastructure in society; power plants, pulp mills, dams, pipelines, stadiums, highrises, generating stations, powerlines, roads, bridges and overpasses. Every aspect and corner of our lives are touched by the trades that we are in. It is no wonder that we are proud of what we do, why we promote our work to our sons and daughters, and why we are successful at what we do. It’s because what we do matters.

I could not be prouder to be a Building Trades member, a steamfitter/pipefitter, a member of UA Local 170, a son to a BC Building Trades worker and now a father to a BC Building Trades  apprentice. My family is not the exception. Throughout all the Building Trades, you will find legacies of families; tradespeople spanning multiple generations and passing on their talents to their children and grandchildren.


By Al Phillips