Letters to the Editor

Riveting is not a completely-lost art

I read the article in the Boilermaker Reporter about riveting [“Film captures story of Boilermakers,” p.3, Jan-Mar issue] and would like to let you know it’s not a completely-lost art. I’m a journeyman out of Local 85 [Toledo, Ohio]. My brothers, Tim [a former 10-year L-85 member], Terry [an active member who joined L-85 in 1992 with Todd], and I still drive rivets on Great Lakes’ freighters, as well as on high-pressure digesters in the Canadian paper mills.

We have also driven rivets on the Panama Canal and Liberty ship, the John Brown. The 4 ½-inch by 1 ¼-inch digester rivets take 90 seconds wide open on a 120 rivet gun that would surely make your apprentices sweat! Not to mention that bobbing the rivets, caulking the seams, reaming, and countersinking is almost as brutal as driving the rivet itself!

Todd Jagielski, L-85 member
Osseo, Mich.

Proud to serve with Boilermakers

I AM BEGINNING my 39th year of unbroken service in the Boilermakers union [in April 2010]. In August I will apply for my pension. I have served with the greatest men and women the U.S.A. and Canada have to offer.

As a teenager, I started out as a tankie mechanic — there was no apprentice program. The work was hard and extremely dangerous. The men I worked with were very tough in those days. Many of them, as teenagers, had fought in World War II and Korea. They were two-fisted, hard-working, hard-fighting, and sometimes hard-drinking men who were fiercely proud to serve as Boilermakers. Today’s Canadian and American Boilermakers are still proud. Thankfully, education and safety have progressed to the point that we lose very few men nowadays.

From an old Boilermaker to my brother and sister Boilermakers, thanks again for allowing me to serve with you.

Thomas A. Reed, L-74 member
Houston, Texas