This week on the Rebuild SoCal Podcast, we were joined by Charles Fair, a member of Laborers Local 89 in San Diego. Charles sat down with Host Jon Switalski to discuss the importance of labor unions and how it has impacted his 15-year-plus career as a skilled laborer.
Charles is based out of San Diego and has seen the city expand and adapt throughout his 15 years as a resident. He is one of the many people who had a hand in building the city’s expansion from the ground up, working as a skilled laborer on many different construction sites and with many different responsibilities. The opportunities to work on San Diego’s infrastructure gave Charles and others in different building trades unique perspectives on city development, and a keen sense of the potential future projects hold for the region.
Whether it’s housing units, shopping centers, dams, or sporting venues, skilled union workers are the backbone of development. Historically, however, non-union construction trade workers have been disadvantaged by insufficient oversight and lacking mechanisms to ensure workers’ rights. That is why unions are such a critical benefit for working-class men and women: unions advocate for workers like Charles, bargaining over working hours, environmental conditions, health benefits, compensation, and so much more.
During the discussion, Charles shared that working conditions and respect are big issues in the field, stating that “being in a labor union, we get mixed in with non-union [workers]. And there is a big difference in how people are treated.”
To hear more about Charles’ perspective on the value of being a Laborer with Local 89, listen to this week’s episode >>HERE<<.