The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) is thanking members of the international bricklayers union for taking to city streets Saturday morning to clear snow and ice from about 40 high-use bus stops.
Leaders of Local 3 of the International Bricklayers and Allied Craftsworkers Union worked with the Rhode Island AFL-CIO to organize the effort in order to help RIPTA and the public deal with bus stops and shelters that have been left clogged with snow and ice after repeated winter storms. Since bus stops and shelters are located on public sidewalks, RIPTA relies on residents and businesses to comply with their local snow-removal ordinances to keep stops shoveled. The bricklayers union assembled two teams of apprentices who tackled busy urban stops along Chalkstone Avenue and Smith Street in Providence on Saturday, March 7, 2015.
“It’s about giving back to the community,” said Richard Pacheo, vice president of the bricklayers’ Rhode Island Local. “That’s the way this profession was handed down to us and we want to pass that along to our apprentices. It’s important.”
Maureen Martin, a member of RIPTA’s Board of Directors and Secretary Treasurer of the Rhode Island AFL-CIO, said the idea came about after some union leaders talked about the strain that this winter’s storm has created for RIPTA drivers and passengers alike. She said tht they looked at the volunteer shoveling work that members of Serve Rhode Island have been doing for residents and wanted to see if the union could do something similar to help RIPTA riders.
“We really appreciate the community contribution that the bricklayers union is making by having some of their apprentices clear snow from some of our high-use bus stops,” Martin said. “Snow removal has been a huge challenge for most people this winter and particularly for RIPTA with thousands of stops and shelters across the state. Our main concern is always keeping our passengers, our employees and the public safe.” The apprentices took to their task with vigor Saturday morning, their heavy shovels making a rasping noise against ice-encrusted snow. “You’ve just got to dig in,” said apprentice Matthew Valliere. “It’s good to help people and I’m here with my union brothers and sisters –– we’re all one team.”