STRONGER TOGETHER 6 FEET APART
Wyatt Vigil, LU 129, Sixth Term Apprentice
“Twenty minutes after I was laid off at a Turner Construction job I got a call to go to work on a Howard S Wright project,” said Wyatt Vigil, 6th-period apprentice and a member of LU 129. “ I showed up with my bags and the superintendent was standing at the gate, ‘You’re on the clock,’ he said.
“FEMA workers and the National Guard were erecting a huge temporary, tent-like structure intended as a COVID-19 quarantine facility,” Vigil continued. “The carpenter crew followed them up to build the decking so they could run utilities throughout the structure.”
That was five weeks ago. The Howard S Wright crew, including Vigil, moved on to a downtown Seattle building scheduled for demolition that has been repurposed by King County to serve as a quarantine center should it be needed.
“We’ve been working seven days a week, 12 hours a day for the last five weeks,” said Vigil.
“When we moved on to the downtown Seattle building safety protocols became even more strict,” he continued. “There are hand-washing stations every 30 feet and sanitizer throughout the job site. Breaks and lunchtimes are staggered among the crew to minimize exposure. I was assigned the job of COVID-19 safety monitor for the first week. I walked the job making sure workers were keeping distance and wearing their PPE properly. When that duty was reassigned to a journeyman carpenter, I was happy to get back to installing doors and hardware.
“I have a girlfriend, a dog, and a cat,” laughed Vigil, who is a third-generation carpenter. His father, Andy Vigil (LU 129) is also a union carpenter currently working on the Mud Mountain Dam Project east of Enumclaw. “We are all doing well. We stay in touch by phone calls and text messaging.
“I’ve been fortunate,” admitted Vigil. “I have enough supplies for two months at home and I’ve got this great job. I’ve been socking away my overtime into savings.”
When asked what he was looking most forward to doing when this is all over, he did not hesitate in his response.
”I’m going to take a week off and go to a favorite camping spot in Eastern Washington,” he replied.