Atomic Trades and Labor Council: Our skill players
More than 1,400 employees are members of the Atomic Trades and Labor Council. Without these dedicated workers, Y-12 would have difficulty meeting its mission.
Y-12 Site Manager Bill Tindal said, “It may be that I am missing sports more than usual due to COVID, but our ATLC members are the skilled players on the field. We’ve got a lot of coaches, strategists, equipment folks, and other support functions. And, it’s important that all act as an integrated organization, but, when it comes right down to it, it’s the skill player on the field that adds value.”
These skill players include machinists, welders, chemical operators, janitors, truck drivers, and electricians to name a few. In fact, their occupations are ones in need throughout the country. Their careers are ones that are needed now and into the future, so much so that during 2019, Y-12 visited schools to share opportunities available in trades. Educational outreach events focused on the various trades careers, and students interacted with electricians, carpenters, insulators, painters, and machinists. ATLC members share career plans and the advantages of the being an apprentice and “earn while they learn.”
Tindal said, “I am thankful for the skill and commitment shown by our ATLC colleagues. But just as important, I am thankful for the way they work with all of us to create an integrated organization.”
Mike Thompson, ATLC president, said, “Our ATLC members contribute an important piece to the end goal. Every aspect of what they do helps Y-12 function overall.”
Changing conditions aren’t new to any of us, especially now as we deal with social distancing and COVID controls. It’s an even larger change when the needed safety implementations create inconveniences: briefing areas moved, break areas reconfigured, and protocol changed for communicating with coworkers.
“Our workforce has always adjusted to changing conditions, circumstances, and requirements, and we will adjust accordingly to succeed under the current conditions,” Thompson said. “The safety slogan of being your brother’s keeper takes on additional meaning as we operate under new concerns of heightened awareness, for ourselves and each other.”
Reed Mullins, senior director of Y-12 Production Operations, said, “It is frustrating when your normal routine with your coworkers is interrupted, and I appreciate our folks who have risen to the challenge and understand that these changes are necessary. It is not fun wearing a face covering for hours, but that is currently the need.”
Mullins couldn’t resist building on Tindal’s analogy. “For us to be on the field and to play, we must wear the appropriate equipment to ensure we protect our teammates. Even with these added distractions and frustrations, we have been able to bring our processes back online and deliver our mission for the nation. I am thankful for those men and women who make this place run each day.”
Y-12’s skill players in Production Operations hold a meeting while practicing social distancing. (This photo was taken before mandatory face coverings were required while on-site.)