Source: The Oak Ridger | Kimberly Mitchell, special to the Oak Ridger | September 30, 2021
Imagine in the early autumn of 1942 General Leslie Groves was placed in charge of the Manhattan Project.
He secured 60,000 acres in East Tennessee that would become Oak Ridge, Tennessee. By 1945, there were 75,000 people living in Oak Ridge. More than 22,000 worked at the Y-12 National Security Complex. The other sites; X-10 (Oak Ridge National Laboratory) and K-25 (known then as the Gaseous Diffusion Plant) employed approximately 5,000 workers. Workers who spent time constructing the sites or working at one of the plants numbered around 100,000.
In the beginning the three sites had a need for carpenters, masons, electricians, iron workers, insulators, pipefitters, machinists, teamsters, sheet metal, welders, operating engineers, chemical operators, painters, laborers, boilermakers, millwrights, cafeteria workers and firefighters.
The Atomic Trades and Labor Council (ATLC) has always represented members who are most highly skilled in their craft. It is not uncommon to talk to people who are third generation union members following the footsteps of their parents and grandparents. Atomic Trades and Labor Council’s legacy continues to be passed on to the next generation and then the next.