Local 727’s Union Sign Shows USW Pride

USW Local 727’s sign in front of the union hall shows everyone driving by the pride the local feels for its union.

“We didn’t want to put up just anything,” said District 8 Staff Representative Brandon Duncan, who was president of Local 727 prior to his staff appointment.

“We wanted to contribute to the community as far as the looks of the sign.”

The local had moved its union hall from an old bank building into a former U.S. Postal Service facility it had bought from Calvert City along the town’s main street, so the sign would be seen by the entire community.

The local represents 230-plus workers at five different companies in Calvert City, Ky., that make high-dollar polymers and additives, PVC, chemical catalyst and specialty chemicals for many industries.

Group Effort

Duncan said the local first looked for a union sign company and couldn’t find one nearby—Nashville, Tenn., and Indianapolis, Ind., were the closest places—so it decided to build a sign on its own.

“We wanted something that was industrial-looking and reflected who we were and what we do,” Duncan said. “Since we are Steelworkers, we needed I-beams and aluminum plating, and paint and acrylics for the chemical sector.”

He created a design for the sign, which stands nearly 12’ tall and 9’ wide, with input from everyone, most notably, John Sullivan, Dathan Sheldon and Brian Culp. “It truly was a group effort,” Duncan said.

Then, he took the sketch to the maintenance shop, and solicited members who are welders and fabricators. “Steve Johnson was the man. He put a lot of work into the sign. I know he is proud and we are proud of him,” Duncan said.

Johnson, a Local 727-01 member, welded the I-beams together, cut and set the chains, and assembled the structure before taking it to get painted.

Mitch Adams, a former USW member who started his own machine shop called Industrial Sheet Metal, cut the letters, built and powder-coated the sign.

“In the 1980s, Mitch was an operator who went through a newly-developed maintenance apprenticeship program. He later became a company supervisor, then maintenance superintendent, and adventured out on his own and acquired an industrial supply business,” Duncan said.

“Mitch said, ‘This local union helped me get my start and I will never forget that. If it wasn’t for the union, I wouldn’t own the business I do today.’

“He did a lot of work and charged us very little. Mitch was proud to have a part in it,” Duncan added.

Local Pride

Current Local 727 President Glenn Tucker followed up on the progress of the sign after Duncan became a staff representative. He said that Johnson and Chris Sheridan loaded up the sign on a flatbed trailer Johnson owned. Then, Johnson used a front-end loader to off-load the sign, raise it up and lower it into the holes Tucker and Sheridan had dug.

Pictured: (L-R) Wade Kennedy, Glenn Tucker and Steve Johnson seated on the tractor.

Tucker said he worked with Calvert City to ensure the sign met the city’s codes, and he checked with the utility companies to ensure it was safe where he dug the holes, so as not to hit gas or water lines.

“The city is glad we are there and are taking care of the place,” Tucker said. “We are pretty proud of the sign, and the city is too.”

A photographer from the local newspaper, Lake News, shot some photos of the sign and told the local whoever designed it did a good job.

“We’ve never had anything that nice—the building and the sign—and the membership is quite proud of it,” Duncan said.

Press Inquiries

Media Contacts

Communications Director:
Jess Kamm at 412-562-2446

USW@WORK (USW magazine)
Editor R.J. Hufnagel

For industry specific inquiries,
Call USW Communications at 412-562-2442

Mailing Address

United Steelworkers
Communications Department
60 Blvd. of the Allies
Pittsburgh, PA 15222