The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Michigan seeks a greater share of federal road funding

When it comes to national highway funding, Michigan is a "donor" state, but would rather be on the "recipient" side of the equation. ..

National Maintenance Agreement gives the customer what he wants

Just like any other deal between labor and management, portions of the National Maintenance Agreement don't sit well with rank-and-file workers. For that matter, I expect owners and contractors who demand the use of NMAs on their projects don't like some sections of it, either. ..

Trades help restore power at flooded Presque Isle plant

MARQUETTE - When the Silver Lake dam broke on May 14, causing $102 million in flooding damages to residents and businesses, the rush of water was a particular torment for the Presque Isle Power Plant. ..

Carhartt's blue jean promotion fits trades to a 'T'

The Carhartt Co. isn't normally in the business of giving its products away. But that's what the work clothes manufacturer did on June 5, when more than 500 construction workers building the Compuware headquarters tower lined up and received a free pair of Carhartt blue jeans. ..

LECET to the rescue in strapped Hamtramck

With the City of Hamtramck in dire financial straits, the city's Fire Department barely has funds to maintain current staffing levels - much less any money in the budget for anything beyond basic equipment. ..

Hilton Garden Inn construction is a rarity for Detroit



United Way's Ray West dies
Ray West, organized labor's liaison to the United Way of Southeast Michigan, died June 10, 2003. A Pipe Fitters Local 636 member, Ray was 68 years old and suffered from various forms of cancer.

"He was just a great guy," said Local 636 Business Manager Jim Lapham. "He found a niche for himself at the United Way and I think he really took a lot of pride in being able to help other people. I know I called him a lot when we needed charitable work, and he was particularly proud of the handicap ramp program."

In fact, Ray was the go-to guy for most of the building trades when it came to getting help or advice for charitable causes. 

In April, Ray celebrated his 50th year in Local 636 and received a coveted letter of recognition from United Association General President Martin Maddaloni. Ray served as a business agent in Local 636 for three years before taking over the post at the United Way in 1991. 

A Korean War veteran, Ray is survived by wife Caroll and sons David (Local 636 member) and Ray. One of six brothers, Ray is survived by his brother Frank, a retired business agent and apprenticeship coordinator with Iron Workers Local 25. He was pre-deceased by his brother Lonnie, who served as business manager of Local 25 and as a business representative with the Greater Detroit Building Trades Council.

Ray's counterpart at the American Red Cross, labor liaison Frank Culver, remembered Ray as "a caring person who never blew his own horn."

"It was a pleasure working with him," Culver said. "I know how he felt about the handicap ramps - when the crew completed the job, he would always ask the person in the wheelchair to roll down the ramp, and as he said, 'not be a prisoner anymore.' He always enjoyed helping others." ..