Our April Membership meeting opened with over a hundred apprentices walking down the aisle and shouting in unison “Who are we? Seventy-nine!” to loud cheers and rounds of applause from their Local 79 brothers and sisters. Business Manager Mike Prohaska then led all apprentices in the Oath of Membership with all graduates swearing “to fight for the cause of all working men and women.”

Recently-elected NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams was the keynote speaker and highlighting the importance of apprenticeship programs in creating pathways to the middle-class: “The construction industry needs to lift up and empower people of all backgrounds. This class includes veterans, high school students and formerly incarcerated New Yorkers… In particular, I am glad to see so many women graduation.” Jumaane looked out at an audience where 12% of apprentice graduates are women, 74% are black or latino and 80% live in the five boroughs. “We all know how important it is to have union jobs on construction sites,” Jumaane emphasized. “A union is not just a job, it’s a career.”

Apprenticeship Co-coordinator Timmy Warrington closed proceedings by telling our union’s newest journeyworkers: “When you graduate, you’re part of this forever.” He also announced that Khalil Vasquez had earned Local 79’s Apprentice Participation Award for his work-ethic and commitment to our union on-and-off the jobsite.

You can watch a Facebook video of the Graduation and read more about it in Labor Press.