Union Laborer Local 483

H.A. Andersen Construction Gresham, Oregon May 1975 to August 1975

Summer work as the youngest of five union laborers in a construction crew of over 60 on a 164,000 square foot tilt-up concrete Fred Meyer shopping center at SE 3rd and Burnside in Gresham, Oregon. Worked with the tools, tradesmen and heavy equipment of commercial building construction from site-prep and foundation to finish roofing on a three month fast-track schedule.


  • Helped form, reinforce, pour, and finish laser-leveled concrete footing pads, floor slabs, and pancake-like stacks of wall panels.
  • Helped frame, reinforce, and pour concrete columns between the panels.
  • Helped place and bolt together interior steel columns, glulam beams, joists, and purlins.
  • Helped lay and seal plywood roofing panels, foam insulating boards, and protective sheeting with a thick layer of hot tar.

Learned a lot from the experts. "Smitty," the job foreman with 30 years of experience as a Union Laborer, taught me how to dig without hurting my back, and he demonstrated how respecting people gets results. "Lenny," the labor crew foreman showed me how a hand on the shoulder makes the tough jobs easier. "Goose," a career Laborer made the hard stuff look easy. He modeled how to overcome unfairness by quietly outperforming others.