Unions play role in 'Tall Ships' festival

The U.S. Coast Guard’s Eagle, a floating classroom since 1946, participates in the Parade of Sails July 3 along Foss Waterway in Tacoma, Wash. (Photo by Petty Officer Kelly Parker, U.S. Coast Guard)

Boilermakers help build infrastructure for five-day Tacoma event

BOILERMAKERS WERE among the army of union volunteers whose efforts were essential to the opening of “Tall Ships Tacoma 2008” held July 3-7 at the Thea Foss Waterway.

Boilermakers joined plumbers, bricklayers, cement masons, millwrights, iron and sheet metal workers, painters, laborers, and many other skilled craftsmen in building infrastructure to accommodate the few hundred thousand visitors expected at the event. Longshore members helped each ship to an orderly moorage. In all, over one million dollars in labor was donated to the event, reports Tall Ships Tacoma Board President Joe Jadwin.

More than 400,000 people attended the five-day event, which featured over 30 ships in a race from Victoria, British Columbia. While in the Tacoma bay area, the ships offered tours, mock canon battles, and even a chance to sail.

The annual race alternates between the two coasts and the Great Lakes region, so it won’t be back to Tacoma until 2011.