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No Work Is Insignificant

I was seven years old, and my parents had taken me to Chicago to visit my grandma. Jaja was a mystery. She had smooth skin and not a wrinkle, but her hands were those of a laborer. Sausage, calloused fingers with short nails. Almost masculine. They were the best to get a hug from because they were so big.

We drove to Chicago and went to Jaja’s workplace to surprise her. It was the U.S. Steel South Works  mill just outside Chicago. I imagined Jaja worked in an office at the mill; she was always busy in her home office. She had files and piles and knew where everything belonged.

But we went straight to the steel mill building. It was loud, hot and smelly. The huge building scared this seven-year-old. I could see ingots of molten steel off in the distance being poured into forms that would later become the springs for train cars. All this chaotic activity, overrun with people covered in silver flame retardant suits, face masks, and helmets. It looked so alien.

And out of the chaos, one particular silver suit walked towards us. Big steel-toed boots crossed the mill floor. And as they moved across the safety zone, off came the big gloves, and up flipped the steel face shield. And there was Jaja. My grandma was Rosy the Riveter.

She started in the steel mills during the Second World War and made a successful career out of a steel inspector on the mill floor. She was proud of the unusual work she performed, and she did it with excellence. Her simple act ensured that rail cars were fitted with safe wheels and springs, and goods would make it safely across the U.S. to their final destinations. I later learned she was often the Employee of the Month and received numerous awards for her service.

Writing an EIR section, conducting a jurisdictional delineation, analyzing site access, or inspecting steel ingots. We all have work to do. And that work is valuable and vital. That work provides for our comfort and also greatly contributes to our dignity.

Whatever role you play at LSA, it is important. Your work is an example of your character. As Dr. King recognized, there is dignity in our labor. Thank you for sharing your efforts with LSA.

Anthony Petros, CEO

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