RON ROBERTS, LOCAL 29
A HUNDRED PLUS MEN DESCEND
DOWN THE IRON RAILS THEY SLIDE
SKIMMING THE SCUFFED HARD SOLES DO FLY
AS THE CALLOUSED GRIP OF HARD LABOR
BRAKE THE LEATHER ON THE TIME SMOOTHED RAILS
THE HUNDRED PLUS MEN DESCEND
LANDRIES AND LEATHERS OF WELDERS
THE HARNESSES AND SPUDS OF CONNECTORS
HOUNDS THE BARK AND GROWL OF THE PUSHERS
RATTLING THE CHOKES AND SHACKLES OF RIGGERS
AS A HUNDRED PLUS MEN DESCEND
CLAD IN ARMOR OF LEATHER DENIM AND DUCK
THE SOULS OF ORGANIZED LABOR
THIS GRIT OF SWIMMING IN SOOT AND ASH
THAT FORGES ANY BOILERMAKER WORTH BRASS
AS THE LAST OF THE HUNDRED PLUS MEN DESCEND
Retiree Ron Roberts presents gift to local, International
Photo, poem depict life, work for L-29 member
WHEN MEMBERS RETIRE, their co-workers often throw them parties with gifts. But when Ronald Roberts retired, he provided the gifts — framed and matted copies of a poem he wrote for his local and International union.
Roberts, a member of Boston Local 29 since 1979, has worked at construction sites since he was a permit man in 1973. While working at a coal-fired plant a few years ago, Roberts wrote a poem about men leaving the job site. He was working at the same plant this year when he decided to frame the poem as a thank-you gift to his union.
As his May 2006 retirement date approached, Roberts thought about what type of artwork he could use to illustrate the poem. Putting on the boots and gloves he wore everyday to work, Roberts decided they would make a great photo. During his lunch break, he removed his boots and gloves and photographed them near a grating stairway.
Upon his retirement, Roberts presented a framed and matted copy of his photo and poem to Local 29 President Tom Saccoach for display at the local’s union hall. Roberts also asked Saccoach to forward a second framed and matted copy to Kansas City for display at International headquarters.
Roberts has received so much positive feedback about his gift that he decided to make 1,000 limited prints. If anyone is interested in a copy of Roberts’ photo and poem, please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.