Local 197 Council Rep. Patrick Wilby
Q & A
What experience has prepared you most for your current position as Council Representative?
I believe the experience that prepared me the most for the Council Representative position was being a Steward. During that time, I learned how to guide and support members, be of assistance to the contractors and work with a variety of personalities. Honestly, I also would attribute my sense of humor with helping me in those situations and my job as a Council Representative.
Why did you want to be a Council Representative?
I set goals for myself and to be a Council Representative was definitely one of them. I thought I would fit in well, especially with the training I have received through the Union. The Brotherhood has invested in me; gave me the chance to improve my skills, be better at my trade and taught me how to be part of a team. Serving my union as a Council Representative is a way to stay the path, and to give back.
What political issue do you feel affects the Union the most? And how as a Union, are we doing to fix this issue?
In my area, the underground economy is growing and making it more challenging to put our members to work. I would say this is the issue that affects our union the most. We as carpenters must establish good relationships and inform our politicians, both local and national about the underground economy. As a Council Representative, I also understand that we need to advocate more about how the Union would be an asset in the job market and to their communities with our charity work. Additionally I think it is important to be reaching out to the most vulnerable and supporting our veterans about the opportunities our Union Training Centers offer to them.
What do the members mean to you?
The members of the Brotherhood and Sisterhood mean a great deal to me. I do all I can to provide support, information and relief to them no matter the situation. After all, I work for them. It’s a good feeling knowing I am trusted and able to help.
What does it mean for you to help out the community?
Helping out the community helps me feel useful. Not only in doing the charity work, but in telling people in the community about the Brotherhood and Sisterhood and the education and hope that a trade can give them to be successful
How and when did you decide you wanted to join the union?
I joined the Union by going to my local hall. This was in the early 2000’s. The Council Representatives explained the benefits, education and security of working in the Union. He helped me see it was a better way to provide for my family, and frankly it was.
What are your thoughts on the Northeast Maglev Train potentially coming to DC and what do you foresee will be the major effects it’ll have on DC?
The Northeast Maglev train is a great opportunity for our community and the Brotherhood. It gives the Capitol something exciting and positive to look toward. It will increase revenue for the city, it will show the people of the Northeast Corridor the skill of our members, that we build safe, right, on time and under budget. The passengers riding the train, knowing that it was 100% Union-built, might even encourage family members or friends to join the Union.
You were tasked with helping to organize in Puerto Rico. How was that experience and what did you learn?
It was an enormous honor to be part of organizing the Puerto Rico Union Hall. Learning and participating in the steps it takes to start a new local was amazing. I enjoyed working with the Reps from the different locals, working with the locals, seeing their way of life, the styles of homes and especially trying the food. The times I had working with our people with the Heart 911 organization was a true-life altering experience. It will always stay with me.