A Labor of Love Recognized Within National Grid
The Annual United Way of Rhode Island Celebration honored one of National Grid’s own with a prestigious award on January 14th.
Phil Fogarty, President of Utility Workers Union of America, Local 310, was the recipient of the Dante Mollo Labor Award.
The event was carried virtually online and featured a video of Fogarty, who shared his passion for giving back to people.
“We are fortunate we have good jobs that provide for our families but there are people out there that can’t, and they need that little help that push,” Fogarty said. “There are people out there that hit bumps in the road, this year’s a perfect example, people just need a little push to get over the top to be able to provide for their family.”
Christopher Sabitoni, who is with the Laborers’ International Union of North America UWRI Board of Directors, was also featured in the video with Phil Fogarty. “A guy like Phil, they are the guys that lead the way during these times and so as a young guy in the labor movement, I look up to guy like Phil Fogarty,” Sabitoni said.
Fogarty is a lineman with National Grid in Rhode Island. He said he learned the lesson of helping others around the dinner table from his parents, particularly his father, George “Bing” Fogarty, who was Union President in 1954 with Narragansett Electric and was involved with the union for 58 years. “He told me to get involved and enjoy and I’d have fun, and for the most part I do.”
“You realize if you give to the United Way it goes into good hands,” Sabitoni said. “That was realized by Local 310 with Phil Fogarty’s Dad, these guys are pioneers in the labor movement, years and years ago.”
During the video, Phil is sitting at his work desk and holds up a photo of his father next to his new Dante Mollo award. “Here’s my dad in 1954, when he was Union President on the platform with a podium and a mic and he was at the microphone making the same spiel probably way better than me to the members about helping out in the community by helping the United Way.
Fogarty also shared the sense of legacy and connection that being involved with the union has brought him. “Deep down I felt gratification that what I got involved with being active in the union on request of my Dad and that’s now come full circle.”
Dante Mollo is the person that bridged the labor community and the United Way of Rhode Island together. Being honored with the Dante Mollo Labor Award is near and dear to Phil Fogarty’s heart. “My Dad would be immensely proud, as would my Mom, she knew how much it meant to me to take after my Dad and follow in his footsteps.”
Fogarty said he’s accepting the award on behalf of all his members, the men and women of the Utility Workers Union of America, Local 310. “I’m the messenger,” he said. “But it’s the members of Local 310, our brothers and sisters who donate part of their earnings every year to this great organization, that make it happen.”
“These are the men and women who bring gas and electric into our homes,” Sabitoni said. “There are the people that go out of their way to do good for the community and for humankind, and the members (of Local 310), they know he’s (Phil Fogarty) accepting this award on their behalf.”
“The common goal is that everyone has a better existence, to make sure everyone gets to a good place in life,” said Fogarty.