Editor’s Note: LaborPress is proud to present the 2022 Outstanding Apprentice of the Year Awards for Long Island and New York City on Thursday, June 16, hosted by Teamsters Local 282 in Lake Success, NY. Today, we continue our ongoing series leading up to this year’s gala event introducing each of those fascinating and inspiring award-winners to the wider labor movement.
New York, NY – Thirty-seven-year-old Welinton Baque is a fifth-year Ironworkers apprentice originally from Guayaquil, Ecuador, now making his home in Elizabeth, N.J. LaborPress sat down with the married father of five to learn about his journey into the unionized Building Trades, what he’s learning, and what being an Ironworker means to him.
LP: How did you learn about the apprentice program?
WB: I learned about the program through a coworker when I was a non-union worker. Then, I did my research more in depth and found out all the great benefits and opportunities being a union worker has to offer.
LP: What interests/excites you most about your work?
WB: Being able to work as a team with my coworkers and to see a physical project come to life. Seeing your hard work pay off is very rewarding and makes me excited to come to work.
LP: What skills have you learned?
WB: I learned extensive knowledge of reinforcing concrete and ironwork, but also how to implement various safety measures and learn different methods to finish each job adequately.
LP: Where are you working now and what are you working on?
WB: I am currently working at LaGuardia Airport. My coworkers and I are working on creating the foundation for one of the last terminals. So far, it is coming along well, but we still have a long way to go.
LP: What are your thoughts about being in a union? Do you find it beneficial?
WB: Overall, I strongly believe that being in a union is a great opportunity for people to get started with a stable career. Not to mention, the great benefits the union provides for us. I strongly suggest joining a union to everyone because of all the opportunities it offers us to grow [and specifically] as an Ironworker as well.