Each week, we’ll share a post getting to know a member of the Guild community. This week, we’re excited to learn from Dan Campagna, returning Guild School student and Journeyman Carpenter and Steward with Carpenters Local 275!
“We all live in the community, so we should participate in it.” – Dan Campagna
Dan is a Journeyman Carpenter and Steward with Carpenters Local 275. He began in the labor movement through an apprentice program. “I had already been working with my hands, but I wanted to be a pro. I thought, if I’m going to be a carpenter, I want to be the best in the industry,” Dan says. Since then, over the past five years, Dan has been very active in his union.
Dan started a stewards’ class in June and officially began the steward role in November. He says, “Being a steward is worth it because you can do right by your brothers and sisters. It feels good to be a voice for members, without them having to stick their own necks out.” According to Dan, the most important part of being a steward is listening: getting to the root of the problem, having patience, and not jumping to conclusions. He also thinks it’s important for a steward to be available and approachable, and that allows people to build relationships.
For Dan, one of the best parts of being in a union is the sense of camaraderie between the brothers and sisters who are members. This fraternal sense is present on the job, in the union hall, and in the volunteer work that members do in their communities. Dan is excited by and deeply involved in a wide range of volunteer work through Local 275. He has done work for a number of local political campaigns, including door-knocking, phone banking, and canvassing; and is part of the volunteer organizing committee that attends city meetings and other similar forums to build relationships with contractors and city officials. In addition, he and the other union members have done a number of community-based building projects, including playgrounds, camps for children with disabilities, and more. “We all live in the community, so we should participate in it,” he says. The Local 275 events bring together parents, neighbors, and union members to interact with each other, creating relationships that dispel misconceptions and make participants feel good.
Dan’s ties to the Labor Guild stem from his union and his family. His father is a longtime member, and the two of them have had many a labor conversation. He has also volunteered with the Guild, working elections the Guild has run for a number of unions. He has taken three Guild classes, and his favorite has been Public Speaking. Not only did he get to learn important skills that he uses when speaking in front of a group or even one person when he’s cold calling or canvassing; but he also got to learn from and listen to other Guild members share their passions and hobbies. He has also taken and enjoyed classes on running successful campaigns and union administration and the law. Dan says that, at the Guild, you’re “learning from your peers as well as the instructors, getting insight into the diversity of members here. It’s an honor to be here, not an obligation.”
Taking a public speaking class is one thing Dan thinks everyone should do. Another is playing guitar. Along with the rest of his family, Dan enjoys playing music as a way of relaxing and getting into a meditative state. He plays blues harmonica– something he can do when he’s stuck in traffic on the way to and from work– in addition to guitar and drums.
The Guild is luck to have a multi-talented, engaged member like Dan!