L-169 offers lawmakers inside look at Boilermaker work

Adapted from an article by Marty Mulcahy,
Managing Editor, the Building Tradesman;
Photos courtesy David Mitchell, DTE Energy

Wertz, left, talks with Reps. Kosowski and Roberts on a gallery overlooking the plant’s Unit 2 turbine and generator.

Michigan state reps tour Belle River power plant

IN THE AFTERMATH of right-to-work becoming law in Michigan and in the wake of numerous other attacks on workers, Boilermakers Local 169 Business Agent/Apprentice Coordinator Mark Wertz set out to inform a contingent of state representatives what it is that Boilermakers do.

With the cooperation of DTE Energy management, he coordinated a walk-through of the company’s Belle River power plant, just north of Detroit.

The April 22 plant tour took place during a maintenance outage, when Boilermakers and other crafts were on the job, making sure the coal-burning facility runs smoothly.

“I just thought that with all these attacks on labor, it was important to open up a dialogue with our lawmakers in Lansing and let them know what we do and how hard we work day in and day out,” Wertz said. “What they saw was a clean, efficient, well-functioning plant and a lot of our people who go to work everyday and do difficult work, and do it well.”

State lawmakers who took the tour included Representatives Robert Kosowski, Andre Kandrevas, Sarah Roberts, and Tim Greimel.

“We really never get a chance to go into a facility like that and see how the plant operates and the people do their jobs,” said Roberts. “It was a real eye-opening experience.”