SANDUSKY, Ohio (PAI) — As the calliope music rings out from the carousel, visitors enter Cedar Point and view the Sandusky amusement park’s oldest attraction. Riders of all ages climb aboard the storied ride with its bright lights, happy music, and brightly painted animals to enjoy a slow spin.
And when it comes time to paint this beloved and treasured attraction, Cedar Point trusts only the union members from Painters and Tapers Local 788. With the utmost of care, they work on the carousel, using new age products and old world techniques in order to provide the wow-factor for everyone who passes by.
The carousel is not the only ride that the Painters polish, burnish and paint to a high sheen of delight. The men and women of Local 788 also paint a number of buildings and rides at the popular amusement park, often called, “The Roller Coaster Capital of the World.”
Based in Sandusky, the local services 12 counties in northwest Ohio, and is a part of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 6. Its members regularly work a wide variety of different venues, including homes, commercial, industrial and the aforementioned amusement park, the second-oldest in the U.S.
Often times, their work involves turning something that doesn’t look very nice into something that appears new again. Their training lets the 75 active members and 21 retirees of the 113-year-old local provide the highest level of service and meet the challenges required in the most demanding circumstances and environments.
While doing their work quickly is important, the Painters and Tapers of Local 788 know that above all else, quality of work always trumps quantity – especially when some people think they do comparable work because they have painted a room or two in their house.
Painters, it seems, get asked a lot of questions about their trade once people realize what they do for a living. Questions can stem from the proper techniques for using a brush to trim the edges of a wall or door, to the right way to paint a room, or the most often asked topic – their opinions on colors.
Drywall finishing and painting involve physical work, where tradesmen and tradeswomen are required to climb and lift all day. The work also requires steady hands, an eye for detail and a certain touch in order to do ornate work. Besides the physical demands, members must be focused and able to quickly think on the fly because problem solving is a big part of what they do.
In the end, the goal is simple – take something that does not look good, apply their skill and training, and produce a product that looks new. It’s what drives the men and women of Local 788 and gives them satisfaction knowing they have done a job well.
Matt Jaworski is a writer for Labor Citizen, the oldest U.S. labor newspaper, a monthly, full-color tabloid which is printed at the union press of The Repository in Canton, Ohio..
Photo: Cedar Point.