Laborers Union Local 81 celebrates 100th anniversary in Valparaiso

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Laborers Union Local 81 has celebrated its 100th anniversary representing Northwest Indiana workers.

“Local Union 81 construction craft laborers build your roads, bridges, buildings and maintain much of the hot firebrick on the blast furnaces and coke ovens inside the steel mills and power plants in Northwest Indiana,” business manager Mike Campbell was quoted as saying in NWI.com. “Installing water lines, sewer lines, gas lines, hazardous waste removal, asbestos abatement, and pouring of concrete are just some of the work and projects that our skilled, trained and safe workforce of laborers do day in and day out, whether we are working inside of a 1,200-degree furnace tearing out with 90-pound jackhammers for 12 hours at a time or behind a hot asphalt paver on the highway, to working in sub-zero temperatures outside in the elements all winter. Our laborers along with our signatory union contractors help build America every day.”

The union local was established in Gary in 1918. Now it represents 1,258 construction workers through a union hall and training center in Valparaiso.

“Back in the late 1950s and early 1960s our membership had to go on strike and fight hard to get health insurance and pension benefits that many of us take for granted today,” Campbell said.

“We owe them much gratitude for what we have today. I am very proud in my 37 years as a hardworking, blue-collar, union laborer to work side-by-side with all of our brothers and sisters that work so hard as well and who gets up every day to lace up their boots pack their lunch box and go to work to make a difference for their families and all of the middle-class working families in Northwest Indiana and throughout America.”

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