Elite WorkersOn October 19, 2019 by Raul Dinwiddie
Imagine at Natural History Museum 96 restrooms in one museum. I have two restrooms in my home and I have a hard time keeping my home, cleaning up, just for one family. I can not even imagine 96 restrooms in just one building alone. Our job, our duties are very important I believe to the Smithsonian. If we are not here, the museums will not be open. When I was a building service worker, I know that I have to take care of one space, the one that I was assigned, complete my job and leave. No worries. An elite worker is the type of person that really loves doing what he’s doing. Every day. He can walk through a storm and get to work. There’s nothing he or she wouldn’t do and everybody notices. I could just sign it to him and it’s done. I don’t have to go back to check it, I don’t have to inspect it, I know it’s done. The BSW is more on the low of the totem pole. It’s kind of looked down on, but it’s still within the government and you still get the same benefits and there is still a potential for movement in promotions and stuff, you just have to apply yourself. We clean toilets, we mop floors, but we still work hard and we’re not maids–we’re here to maintain and try to make things clean for people and sanitary. If you didn’t have the inside and outside laborers, you know, you have specimens that have to be moved and the inside laborers move those specimens. You wouldn’t have anybody to move those specimens. In the winter days, you wouldn’t have anybody to remove snow from the outside of the building; to get people in here safely. I like the fact that we get to touch a lot of different things, such as mummies. We’ve touched anything from dinosaur bones and we’ve had to transport those things and the fact that the ownerships or the scientists that own those bones or are in charge of those bones or the curators that are in charge of those bones, trust us enough to transport it and not have to watch over our back, I think is the most interesting and as well as rewarding portion of the job. We have to be able to drive a lot of machinery and we have to be really versatile in what we can accomplish. You have to be very creative to solve the problems, to find ways to make sure the buildings are open. Sometimes you don’t have everything available to do that. It is, I believe, the hardest job that we have here at the institution. We have 6,300 Smithsonian employees here at the institution and we are all very fortunate to have these fabulous jobs working here and our Building Service Workers are a key player. They are a team player in that 6,300. If you take any one piece out of that puzzle, take any one individual person out of that puzzle, the collections would suffer, our exhibition would suffer, or our museums cleanliness would suffer. I don’t come here for the paycheck. I come here for the individuals that do the job, but I also come here to make sure that you know the that the Building Service Workers and the Facility Service Work are treated fair. They’re the people that make managers and supervisors look excellent. They’re the ones that help them get those cash award or those bonuses at the end of the year. They’re the ones that need a “thank you.” The guys are just, like I said, we’re family. They work together. They know each other, you know, it’s just a great team. It’s a great team to be with. And I couldn’t be more prouder of those guys. They make the supervisors look good. Those guys make me look good. Since we switched over from Building Management to OFMR, it’s different. Upper management sees what we do, you know and they don’t appreciate you just by saying “thank you”. There’s always luncheons breakfasts, different award ceremonies and these are folks: the Building Service Workers, the electricians, the plumbers, the plumber’s helpers, Facility Service Workers, supervisors–they’re being acknowledged for the things that they do and years ago it wasn’t like that, so there’s a change in things. I come in here every day and I try to do my best, to make sure that everybody comes to work and leaves here safely. They leave here the same way they came here, in a safe manner and we work in a professional and safe manner and I want to continue that as long as I’m working here. I want everybody to know that I try my best to make sure that these guys are safe and they’re doing everything professionally and they’re doing everything with the utmost safety so they can go home back to their families the same way they came in that door. I just want to let them know, I’m doing my best.