Many people are familiar with the “Thin Blue Line” flag —a black and white U.S. flag with a blue line in the middle, meant to show support for police officers (who are said to be a thin blue line separating order from chaos), and to honor officers killed in the line of duty. Supporters of other occupations have borrowed the colored line flag idea. A “Thin Red Line” flag honors firefighters injured or killed in the line of duty. There’s also a dark-green-line flag for Border Patrol agents, a white for EMS workers, yellow for dispatchers, and gray for corrections officers.
The building trades will soon have its own “Thin Green Line” flag to show support for workers in the construction industry.
The brainchild of Mark Gonzalez, a recently retired training director for the Northern California Cement Masons Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee, the Construction Industry flag won support from the California Apprenticeship Council. CAC is comprised of union and nonunion training programs.
Gonzalez told the Labor Press he got the idea a few years ago while on vacation. “I saw a firefighter and police flag flying on a couple of RVs and thought to myself, ‘The building trades needs to have a flag like that representing the construction industry.’”
Gonzalez took the idea to the California Apprenticeship Coordinators Association, a group that represents union training programs. They endorsed it and made a recommendation to CAC. A subcommittee reviewed it, a state-required public comment period was held, and last August CAC unanimously approved it.
The Construction Industry flag will have the American flag in black and white and feature a thin “safety green” line through the center. Safety green, a kind of fluorescent lime shade, is widely used in safety vests in the construction industry.
At a recent state conference of the Operative Plasterers and Cement Masons’ International Association, Gonzalez shared the news with General President Daniel Stepano. Stepano will present a flag to each building trades union general president at their annual meeting in April. The meeting takes place prior to North America’s Building Trades Unions legislative conference in Washington, D.C., which attracts union reps from throughout the country.
Meanwhile, the California Apprenticeship Coordinators Association has ordered several hundred 3”-by-5” decal stickers to hand out to construction workers.
“The sticker and flag will represent a show of support for construction workers wherever it is displayed,” said Gonzalez, adding that the flag also will be flown whenever a construction worker is injured or killed on the job.
For more information about the flag, contact Gonzalez at 831-484-4096.