Today I am announcing the retirement of a good friend, a true laborer and a deeply respected voice in our Local. Lavon Chambers has been a mentor to many members and his lifelong community leadership has helped our union grow stronger and more united. He was co-founder of Pathways 2 Apprenticeship an initiative to combat the injustices faced by formerly incarcerated individuals who were being exploited by nonunion companies for cheap labor. Lavon leaves a lasting impact and we are proud to celebrate his decades of dedicated service to our union.
I worked with Lavon as an organizer in 1996 when we were part of our union’s historic campaign to organize the demolition industry. He was also vital in our campaigns to organize NYCHA and SCA, campaigns that considerably expanded our union’s public sector work. After working for a time as a Business Agent, Lavon was tapped to be one of the first employees of Greater New York Laborers-Employers Cooperation and Education Trust. (GNY-LECET). He retires as GNY-LECET’s Assistant Director where he oversaw our Community Affairs initiatives and ran LECET’s Build Together program for our MWBE signatory contractors. Lavon started as a non-union construction worker and before joining Local 79 was leader of a Harlem-based coalition. Throughout his time in the industry, Lavon has transformed the lives of countless construction workers and has been a proud labor activist for social, economic and racial justice. He will be missed. When I asked him if he wanted to say anything the following is what he offered.
“Working for the Laborers has been much more than a job; it has been a way of life. I considered the Laborers organization to be my family. The impact this union has had on my life and my family’s life is unmeasurable.”
We are immensely grateful for all he has done and wish him all the best in his retirement.