By Sahid Fawaz

One of the best ways to support the growth of the middle class is to support good quality jobs here at home. That is why Labor 411 is leading the movement to generate greater awareness of products made by union workers. Through our “Buy Union, Buy American” social media and web campaign, we hope to reach millions of consumers and educate them on the value of union-made products and services so that they can make informed decisions at the checkout stand.

Last week we kicked off the campaign with “Support Steelworkers Week.” We highlighted the products that their members make, ranging from tires to cookware to tools. The response was overwhelming and we ended up reaching over 300,000 people with our social media campaign. The increased awareness that we generated is a great first step in getting the word out about Steelworker-made products.

 On April 22nd, we are kicking off our second campaign with “Support Building Trades Week.” Members of the Building Trades unions are one of the key driving forces in America’s economic engine. Their unwavering dedication to quality, craftsmanship, and safety has produced a healthy construction industry in the United States. Many of our country’s landmarks were built, and are being built, by the proud members of the Building Trades unions. These landmarks include:

•    One World Trade Center (scheduled for completion this year)
•    the Gateway Arch
•    the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge
•    the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower)
•    and Madison Square Garden

One of the most iconic structures built by union members is the beautiful Golden Gate Bridge, which celebrated its 75th anniversary last year. It’s a symbol recognized all over the world for its innovation and greatness in the face of the Great Depression. For a fascinating look at what it was like to work on the bridge, check out this great article with firsthand accounts from union members.

In addition to working on America’s construction projects, the Building Trades sponsor two major programs that have improved the lives of tens of thousands of workers.

The first is the highly regarded Building Trades Apprenticeship Program. This program prepares workers all over the country for a great career in the construction industry. It not only provides unparalleled skill acquisition but also teaches safety on the job site. Here are a few notable facts about the program:

•    maintains over 1,500 training facilities throughout the country
•    trains more people than the third largest public university system in the US
•    is recognized as one of the premier training programs in the world

The second Building Trades program is known as Helmets to Hardhats, which helps prepare military personnel for a transition to civilian life by training them for building and construction jobs. This program is an invaluable resource for those who need specialized training after spending years in the Armed Forces serving their country. To learn more about the Helmets to Hardhats program, visit this link.

If you would like to be a part of “Support Building Trades Week,” follow us via Facebook and Twitter and help us spread the word about all the great things that union members do every day!

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