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    "The fight is never about grapes or lettuce. It is always about people."
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    :: Tuesday, October 04, 2005 ::

    How the Irish Built an American Icon - interview: Thomas Kelly, "Empire Rising", Gotham Gazette
    Construction unions in this city have long been very tribal, and they still are, though less than they used to be. I was a sandhog, and that's been Irish and West Indian since the days of the building of the Brooklyn Bridge. You have the third or fourth generation working there.

    The ironworkers are mainly Irish. Most come from Newfoundland -- they call them 'fish' or 'newfies.' There's this sort of exaggerated myth of the Native American ironworker. Joseph Mitchell started it when he started writing about it in the 1940s, and Gay Talese continued it with 'The Bridge,' writing about the Mohawks. They were never more than five percent of the union. They got into it because, when they were building bridges upstate and Canada, the ironworkers brought some of the locals into the union, and they happened to be Mohawks. It became this weird reverse racism with some of these writers. Not to take anything away from what these Mohawks did and still do, but it's kind of funny how that happens.
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