UBC Joins Effort to “STICK-up” for Carpenter Safety, Unity, and Pride
The United Brotherhood of Carpenters is sticking up for members across the nation–quite literally taking up the fight to protect freedom of expression seen on the stickers that layer the hard hats of proud union members across the nation.
The National Labor Relations Board is currently considering the standard to apply regarding the wearing of decals, button, and insignia on the clothing union members wear on job sites–including hard hat stickers. In response, on March 22nd the UBC filed an Amicus Brief—or a “friend-of-the-court” brief—in the case against changing the standard.. The UBC’s arguments include that members wear stickers (and more) for safety reasons, and because carpenters and millwrights are well-trained craftsmen who share a sense of unity and camaraderie and obtain the best wages and benefits in the industry because of their skills and solidarity–and they are proud of that. We know that a union hardhat sticker communicates that a member has received the best training in the industry and is a highly skilled professional; or, in simpler terms, that member knows what they are doing and are safer to work around. You can read more about this issue and the case with Tesla that sparked it here.
As the UBC fights to ensure our members can showcase their training, their pride, and their community, we asked our members to share their perspectives on hardhat stickers and why they matter.
“I like the stickers for the fact it shows solidarity and pride that the members are in a highly trained workforce. For some like stewards it lets the other workers know who they can reach out to for questions or concerns, for others it shows off that they belong to a local in the UBC that they are proud of and for others it shows that they have gone through certain classes. They wear stickers for pride. It creates an interest between the crafts that brings up great conversations among each other throughout the crafts. And at the very least creates solidarity.”David Quinn, Local 30, Renton, Washington
“For me, hard hat stickers are a living history. Places I’ve been, history of where we’ve come from and places I’m going. It also means pride. As I carry stickers from my local all over the United States to trade with others with their locals and be proud to be a trained professional and being a part of the union. It means camaraderie and solidarity. That we take care of one another, promote better, higher quality work and receive a higher level of education.”Robert Bersuch, Millwright, Local 96, Kelso, Washington
“The men and women of the Carpenter’s Union wear hardhat stickers for a variety of reasons; we have stickers that show we’ve been safety trained for specific job sites, we have stickers that show solidarity for different political ideas (such as racial equality or anti-right to work), we have other Carpenters Locals’ stickers to show respect, solidarity, and camaraderie, we have stickers showing important information like contract negotiations, and, most importantly, we have stickers from our own Local Union. Stickers allow us the freedom of expression guaranteed by the constitution, but they are also an important tool for showing that we are part of a team; that we not only work together, but have each other’s backs, and that we can rely on one another. Cumulatively, the stickers on your hat show your history, your personality, and your community.”Liam Ward , Local 1243, Fairbanks, Alaska
“I feel that banning union officiated stickers from our hardhats directly interferes with my Constitutional right to free speech, as well as interfering with my right to organize with my union. More than that, the stickers on my hardhat that I have gotten through my union, show certifications that I have earned, and my work experience in my trade. Taking away our stickers is another way to silence workers.”Aroya Newton, Local 271, Ariel, WA
“Aside from the obvious pride in our unions, hard hat stickers which identify a local union, are a beacon to other members to know who to ask for help should a craft-related question arise. Likewise, if there is a question of personal safety, knowing who is a member of one’s local union gives a person someone to reach out to. We wear our union’s stickers proudly and in solidarity. They indicate that we have received the best training in the industry from the UBC, and sometimes indicate in what discipline of our trade we are most qualified. For example, I would not expect to see a piledriver hardhat sticker on a millwright job. And, if I did, I would expect that the piledriver would receive extra attention regarding safety issues and quality needs particular to millwright work. Simply put, our union stickers are a badge of honor, a point of pride, and a way to share information at a glance.”Dawn Steinwright, Local 30, Renton, WA
“Hard hat stickers show our safety and pride. I wouldn’t want anyone to take them away.”Luis Estrada-Fajardo, Local 59, Ephrata, Washington
“For the last 20 years of my career I have been a safety director and it is very important for us to use stickers on our hardhats. We use them to show our solidarity with the union and show our support for our community. Most importantly we use them to show the training we have received and that we have been orientated by the job site that we are working on. Most of our orientation stickers also include the job site address and any other information that may be needed during an emergency response.“Bernard Reynolds, Local 30, SeaTac, Washington