I think our members are some of the bravest—to go out and go to work during this virus.
In the spirit of true unionism, members of Local 128 (Toronto and province-wide) donated $30,000 to charities across Ontario near the end of 2020 through the Boilermaker’s Purple Ribbon Campaign. The Purple Ribbon Campaign started at L-146 (Edmonton, Alberta) in April 2020 as a way to support essential workers as shutdowns were happening across Canada due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
L-128 BM-ST Roy Grills said that because of the Purple Ribbon Campaign’s focus on essential workers, IVP-Canada Arnie Stadnick expanded the campaign to all lodges in Canada. Local 128 embraced the call for donations to address the visible need in the communities where members live and work. Grills said the urgency to support food banks, while always needed, was even greater in 2020 due to record job losses and high unemployment.
“We heard that food bank donations went down but the need went up,” Grills said.
L-128 made six donations of $5,000 to food banks in Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, Hamilton, Kingston and Sarnia. Because of the pandemic, the local cancelled its annual Christmas celebrations. Instead of holding the celebrations’ budgeted money for the next year, the local chose to donate it.
“We were trying to get checks out before Christmas,” Grills said. “Sudbury told us the donation couldn’t have come at a better time. They were dividing up what food they had left for families. There wasn’t much left.”
In addition to food bank donations, members at L-128 also holds fundraisers and clothing drives, all in an effort to give back to local communities. Grills said the pandemic has been hard on everyone, but since the government deemed Boilermakers essential workers, the local has been doing well. Members are continuing to work, but at a greater risk due to the virus.
“I’d like to thank the members of the local,” Grills said. “The last year has been a trying time with this pandemic. I think our members are some of the bravest—to go out and go to work during this virus.”