By TIM ROWDEN
Eureka, MO – Laborers Local 42 member and Boy Scouts of America volunteer Rick Hammond and John Bundren, Local 42 member and instructor at the Laborers-AGC Training Center in High Hill, MO, recently presented an American Labor Merit Badge workshop to 30 Scouts here at Beaumont Scout Reservation.
“My grandson Adian is a Boy Scout. He’s 15 and working on his Eagle,” Hammond said. “He was the camp master for the camporee and wanted to offer something new for his fellow Scouts. He said one of the things he was interested in presenting a workshop on the American Labor Movement. Well, I’ve been a laborer for nearly 40 years and you’re not going to turn your grandkid down.”
Hammond got in touch with his union hall and reached out to Bundren and together they put together a probram.
“I was pretty surprised there were that many that signed up for it,” Bundren said. “We’re looking at doing something else with the Building Trades to try to help the boys get another merit badge and maybe get them interested in a career in the trades.”
After the workshop, Bundren presented Hammond with a projector – a gift from the Laborers – to use for future merit badge workshop programs.
In order to earn the American Labor Merit Badge, Scouts must:
• Learn about working people and work-related concerns including working conditions, workplace safety, hours, wages, seniority, job security, equal opportunity employment and discrimination, guest workers, automation and technologies that replace workers, unemployment, layoffs, outsourcing, and employee benefits such as health care, child care, profit sharing, and retirement benefits.
• Visit the office or attend a meeting of a local union, a central labor council or employee organization, or contact one of these organizations via the Internet. (For the workshop, Hammond and Bundren represented their local.)
• Explain what labor unions are, what they do, and what services they provide to members.
• Explain the adversarial model of labor-management relations vs. a cooperative-bargaining style.
• Explain the term globalization and its effect on workers.
• Choose a labor issue currently in the news of widespread interest to American workers, explain both sides of the issue and summarize the basic rights and responsibilities of employers and employees, including union members and nonunion members.
• Discuss the different goals that may motivate the owners of a business, its stockholders, its customers, its employees, the employees’ representatives, the community, and public officials and explain why agreements and compromises are made and how they affect each group in achieving its goals.
• Learn about opportunities in the field of Labor relations, choose a career in which they are interested and discuss with their counselor the major responsibilities, qualifications, education, and training the position requires.
JUST THE FACTS
Hammond said he and Bundren were careful to put together a program that didn’t tilt toward unionism but simply told the facts about the Labor Movement, how it formed and what it does today.
“There was a lady there who was on the board of something, and she said she appreciated the fact that we weren’t pro-union or non-union. We gave them all the aspects of it. We weren’t there to influence them. We gave them both sides and let them make up their mind.
“Each and every one of us have a role to play in all this,” Hammond said. “This person’s job isn’t more important than that person’s job. We all have to work together to make this work. That’s what Labor is all about.”