Longtime Teamster steelworker Kim Ferguson (r) congratulated by his union rep, Lance Asher.
The work of Teamsters shows up in some remarkable places.
The roof at Safeco Field retracts on wheels that were burned by Teamsters. Ditto for the pontoons that anchor the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge. The Space Needle itself was fabricated with Teamster steel.
Through their labor, Local 117 members like Kim Ferguson and his dad have helped fashion some of our region’s most renowned landmarks. Together the two share 78 years of membership in Teamsters 117.
“I got a dose of it when I was a young kid,” Ferguson remembers. “I’d go to union meetings with my dad and it was packed, wall-to-wall, standing room only.”
Ferguson started going to union meetings back in the ‘60s when he was 10 years old. In the summers, he’d ride the crane with his dad down at Stack Steel & Supply, one of our region’s most prominent steel service centers at the time.
Ferguson’s dad spent 33 years in the steel industry with Local 117. At 18, it was Ferguson’s turn to go down to the old hall to get sworn into the union he would call home for the next 45 years.
A lot has changed since those early days. Things are safer at American Steel, the company where he has spent his entire Teamsters career. Most of the old timers are gone, a group he describes as a “rough bunch.” “When you were a young kid, you kept your mouth shut and your eyes opened,” he recalls.
"Teamsters have been my whole life."
Now, after over four decades, Ferguson is hanging up his torch. On Thursday, when his union rep, Lance Asher, brought down a commemorative watch to congratulate him on his retirement, the veteran steelworker couldn’t help but get a little choked up.
“I never thought it was going to be this hard,” he said. “Teamsters have been my whole life. I’ve been a Teamster for 45 going on 46 years. It’s been my family.”