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Rod Buster

John Keyes
Ironworkers Local 7

Ironworking is what I do.

My main concern is other team members looking out for help.

Coming from a veritable family dynasty of ironworkers, my father is a retired ironworker… four uncles and my grandfather.

John Keyes, a member of Local 7, has been a rod buster since 1993. Rod busters assemble the rebar reinforcement of concrete building foundations or framing.

Born and raised in Quincy, Massachusetts, John is a union appointed steward on construction sites. Besides the strength and dexterity required for the job, he oversees every “stick”. Experience tells him each one is in the right place as he builds Boston’s new skyline. He has two jobs on site: to perform his backbreaking job and to understand the challenges and frustrations that his coworkers endure.

Most of my job doesn’t come out of a handbook, he explains.

I deal with issues of overtime, benefits… right on the site. Guys and girls I work with also have personal issues, substance abuse. I try and educate.

Guiding rebar into metal skeletons shaping the backbone of Boston, in the tradition set forth by his father & grandfather, John claims he is maybe old to be still doing the work but his fingerprint is all over skyscrapers downtown.

At home, Keyes has a beautiful boxer dog and volunteers at the local animal shelter.

This is one of a series of Photo Stories. Look for more featured on our home page.
Read the story of “T”, a woman in construction.