Dignitaries prepare to cut the ribbon, officially opening the Oscar Davila Training Center, l. to r., Western States Contractor Coordinator Larry Jansen; Western States Joint Apprenticeship Area Coordinator Collin Keisling; L-92 Welding Instructor Hugo Castañeda; L-92 Apprenticeship Coordinator Alfredo Leyva; IVP-WS J. Tom Baca; L-92 BM-ST Luis Miramontes; IVP-GL Lawrence McManamon; and Irma Davila, flanked by the Davila’s sons Octavio, Omar and Oscar.
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In an emotional ceremony honoring a fallen brother, Boilermaker dignitaries, friends and guests of Local 92 (Los Angeles) opened the new world-class Oscar Davila Boilermaker Training Center with a ribbon cutting this past August. Oscar Davila was L-92’s business manager/secretary-treasurer when he was stricken with COVID-19 and died in 2020 during the early days of the pandemic. He had begun the new training center project prior to his brief illness and tragic death.
“This is a great tribute to brother Davila and to Local 92,” said J. Tom Baca, IVP-Western States. “Oscar had a vision for this training center, and [BM-ST] Luis Miramontes and his team stepped up to make it happen.”
The nearly 40,000 square-foot training center, which is highly visible from busy Interstate 215, includes two modern classrooms, state-of-the-art welding equipment, 40 welding booths and a massive open space shop area with oversize garage bay door access. The center also houses specialized refinery heat exchanger equipment, which is vital in the area to prepare California Boilermakers for actual industry standards. Outside is a rigging structure custom designed and built by Boilermakers on site.
“I remember when Local 92 bought this building, and it wasn’t much to look at,” IVP Baca said. “But members and leaders had a vision. I’ve been to training centers all over the country and into Canada, and this is the nicest I’ve ever seen.”
The lobby pays tribute to brother Davila through a colorful photo montage covering the walls, a Charles Jones Riveter sculpture dedicated in his name and a memorial plaque of a Boilermaker Reporter article that profiled Davila in March 2019. Davila’s family members were among honored guests at the ceremony.
“Oscar came to this country at the age of 15 to go to school, and while he was here, he learned the welding trade very quickly,” Davila’s wife, Irma Davila, told attendees, relating the story of how he worked to improve his welding and eventually joined the Boilermakers union. “[As business manager] he advocated for his union brothers and sisters. He fought to make the union better. He lived, breathed and was loyal to the Boilermakers.
“He was always saying ‘knowledge is power.’ My hope for this building is that what he loved most will be taught and that the trainees who come here will see his name and tell his story—that he came to this country not even knowing the language and rose to become a great leader of the union. I wish Oscar were here to see this amazing gift. This was his last project, his last vision.”
Other guest speakers included Miramontes; Western States Contractor Coordinator Larry Jansen; retired AIP and IR Jim Cooksey; Congressman Mark Takano; San Bernardino Mayor John Valdivia; Western States Joint Apprenticeship Area Coordinator Collin Keisling; L-92 Apprenticeship Coordinator Alfredo Leyva and L-92 Welding Instructor Hugo Castañeda.
Valdivia presented Miramontes with a certificate on behalf of the city.
“I want to offer my deep appreciation to Luis and all the Boilermakers for all your wonderful work here,” said Valdivia. “As I learned about Oscar’s legacy in our community and the community that he represents, this is phenomenal. Training really impacts lives and gives families the ability to work and to buy homes, to prosper and live the American dream. Congratulations on a job well done.”
The training center was financed through Bank of Labor and funded by the Local 92 Apprenticeship Fund through increased man-hours generated as a result of Senate Bill 54. Advocacy efforts for the successful passage of SB 54 were made possible by the M.O.R.E. Work Investment Fund.
Read the story of Oscar Davila, “Immigrant finds rewarding life in Boilermakers union.”