Construction workers in Portland, Ore., have come up with a unique way to help children with a serious disease. It all began about three weeks ago when Roger Bullock, a 12-year member of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 701, found a penny on the floor of the elevator he operates five days a week at a downtown Portland construction site.
According to the Northwest Labor Press, he jokingly told his co-workers, “That’s my tip for the day,” as he taped the penny to the wall of the elevator. The paper reports:
by the end of the day, a nickel and dime were taped to the wall next to the penny. “It went from nickels and dimes to quarters and dollar bills,” Bullock said. Pretty soon, Bullock had more than $10 on the wall.
“I didn’t want to keep the money,” he told the NW Labor Press. So he posted a sign saying: “Children’s Cancer Society.”
Word spread that Bullock was giving the money to the cancer center at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. In less than a week more than $200 was tacked to the elevator walls.
The donations keep coming in. There are nearly 100 workers from all the construction trades working on the project and they have issued a challenge to construction crews at other projects downtown to meet or beat their donation. At the end of the construction job, around the end of the month, the money will be counted and matched by the general contractor on the project.
Bullock told the Northwest Labor Press:
These are tough times for a lot of people, and charities, too. We’re all fortunate to be working. It’s the least we can do.
Earlier this month, we reported how another group of construction workers was helping kids with cancer. Over in Boston, children who come to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute write their names on sheets of paper and tape them to the windows of the walkway for ironworkers building an addition to the hospital to see. And, each day, the members of Iron Workers Local 7 paint the names onto I-beams and hoist them into place as they add floors to the building.
This type of kindness and support of those with difficulties is not unusual for union members, says Massachusetts AFL-CIO President Robert Haynes:
The members of the labor movement perform acts of kindness like this every day. We contribute in ways large and small, symbolic and concrete. The labor movement hasn’t forgotten that it’s all about families, and there’s nothing more important to a family than our kids.