“The Charlestown Face Shield Project is a fantastic example of what we can do together when union workers come together with community workers for the greater good,” says International Vice President and IATSE Local 11 Business Manager, Colleen A. Glynn.
In mid-March Chad Bennett from Dark Monk, a company who typically made fire throwing equipment teamed up with Karen Burke from VDA and decided to make much needed face shields to help protect front line workers. Their original goal was to make 1000 shields. They set up a go fund me page and asked for donations to help pay for the raw materials.
The company also needed to find more volunteers to help build the shields, so they put out the request on social media. IATSE Rep from CA, Sister Allison Smartt saw the post and knew who to call.
With 100% unemployment Boston’s stagehands had both the availability and the right skill set for this project. Glynn says she put out the request for volunteers and IATSE Local 11 stagehands stepped up to help.
“We have over 20 volunteers who have worked at least 6 days a week for the past 6 weeks working on baking the shields, working the assembly line and making delivers,” says Glynn. “Before Local 11 joined the team they were making between 70-80 shields a day – with our production experience we helped to grow that number, making anywhere from 1100-1500 shields a day.”
The first delivery was on March 25, they have since delivered to over 150 facilities from Boston to Cape Cod to New York City, to New Jersey, New Hampshire and by the end of April a shipment was flown to Navajo Nation for the front line workers in Arizona and New Mexico
As of May 5th Local 11 have made and delivered over 30,131 face shields.
“We are super grateful to have had a hand in this amazing project that has offered protections to so many front-line heroes,” says Glynn. “Boston’s stagehands have gone from building shows to building shields.”
The IA Communications Department also had an opportunity to speak with Local 11 site leads and stagehands, Mike Gottke and Tracy Quigg to get their take on the Charlestown Face Shield Project and what it means to be a part of such an amazing project.
“This is the most important thing we’ve worked on in our entire careers,” says Gottke. “Helping each other is what has maintained our society.”
“To make a difference instead of staying at home and be out helping and developing relationships is a great feeling,” Quigg added. “I hope we continue to make a difference with each other and not just frontline workers.”