By DON McINTOSH
Lambert is a 44-year-old geneticist with a doctorate but prefers to be out on a rooftop than in the classroom. Roofers Local49 hired him as an organizing and field representative on May 22.
Lambert had an unhappy childhood and no hope for any success. “I was only good at getting in trouble.”
When he turned 12, his family car had broken down on the way to Arizona.
After learning that he will be a parent at the age of 21, he set out to organize his life.
Roofing was something I excelled at. I felt proud to do it.”
After his daughter’s mother left, he had to take care of her full-time, not easy with all the work hours in construction. After saving money, he went to college while working roofing in the summers, when his family was able to watch her.
He received a Bachelor’s Degree in Molecular Biology from Portland State University and a Master’s in Environmental Science from Washington State University. He received his Ph.D. in Genetics from Oregon Health and Science University. In addition, he worked with a National Institutes of Health grant and was appointed professor at Linfield College.
Lambert says that is the moment when disillusionment started to set in. He recalls that “I used to think of roofs all the while I was doing it. … Despite my success as a scientist, I still missed the roof. Even in graduate school, I used to go roofing during the summers, despite not being required to. This was to my Ph.D.’s dismay. advisors.”
He understood that at times, he felt as if he was in a foreign land. Nothing was said. The whole thing was just in his head. Yet he was at ease on a rooftop.
My favorite activity is being outdoors. Working with my guys is a great experience. To roof for long periods of time and do it well, one must have a great sense of humor. I like roofers. I get along with roofers. It’s a job I enjoy. It’s great to be physically active while also working with your hands. It’s a wonderful combination of physical exercise and skillful craftsmanship.”
In accordance with the contract of Local 49, roofers who are journeymen earn an average wage per hour of $38,78 plus all benefits. These roofers work primarily in the commercial flat roof sector.
Lambert will work with Travis Hopkins as business manager and prepare the team for the next master contract negotiation in July of 2024. The plan is to have members engage in the process so that they can make these terms even more advantageous than before. A union’s ability to organize itself systematically is what will lead to good contracts. Lambert’s role involves getting union members to get involved, recruiting workers from non-union businesses and recruiting them, as well as assisting Hopkins with enforcing contracts and uncovering wage thieves in other companies.
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