WAUKEGAN — Waukegan Mayor-elect Sam Cunningham felt right at home alongside union members and signatory contractors as they all came together April 15 to distributed Easter dinners to local families.
“What [organized labor] is doing today is going to put them in the focal point in our community,” Cunningham explained. “This allows the public to see why it’s important to have organize labor.”
The Lake County Building and Construction Trades Council, Great Lakes Construction Association and the Northeastern Illinois Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO teamed up, as they have in the past, to purchase 150 Easter dinners for residents of Waukegan Public School District 60. It was part of their Giving Back to the Community project.
Pete Olson, president of the Lake County Building and Construction Trades Council said the event allows the community to see unions for what they really are — a supportive and integral part of the community.
It’s also a way to show their appreciation to the Waukegan Public School District for work awarded to signatory contractors, which have put many union members to work.
“It also shows we’re here to support each other, like we were when the teachers went on strike a few years ago,” said Olsen. “We’re all under the umbrella of the Northeastern Illinois Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO.”
The distribution site was at Whittier Elementary School from 10 a.m. to noon. For families unable to find transportation, the school district used school buses to pick up residents at certain destination pick-up spots.
Great Lakes Construction Association Executive Vice President Tim Marabella said he loves helping out in his community. “I really love that aspect of my job,” Marabella explained.
Signatory Contractor Boller Construction provided a box truck to pick up the dinners. Family members Sue and Jamie Boller welcomed residents, offering them doughnuts and coffee. Fellow family member Matt Boller, along with Local 150 Training Director Bryan Sorensen, worked inside the box truck getting the hams ready.
“We are big supporters of the Great Lakes Contractors Association,” Matt said. “Whenever they need help, we’ll jump at it.”
Any extra meals were distributed to various community organizations, including Most Blessed Trinity Parish.