DaMN Interview: David Hallas
Who are you? Where do you work? How old are you?
My name is David Hallas. I work at the Gerdau steel mill in St. Paul and I am 32 years old.
What was your call to action as a young worker?
In 2004, I wanted to help with my local union contract. I decided sitting on the sidelines was not a way to ensure my family’s and my future. So I kept asking what I can do.
Had you been active in other issues before this time?
I have been involved in elections since 2006 and supportive of local union fights like TSA agents having the right to unionize, nurses one day strike, fighting Korea, Columbia, and Panama free trade deals, and the attacks on public sector workers we saw this last year.
What leadership roles do you have in your union (or community) right now? How did you get to this point?
I am the recording secretary of USW local 7263, Vice president St. Paul regional labor federation/ chair St Paul labor assembly, steering committee member of MN fair trade coalition, and DFL precinct captain for my ward.
I got to this point by wanting to make a difference when and where I can and taking the attitude that a title just means you have the opportunity to worker harder to make positive changes in your community.
What were the most important things you learned from Next Up Conference in Minneapolis this fall?
That there are thousands of young workers that all have the same issues and problems and we can work together to solve them in new and creative ways that will help the next generation of workers get energized for the fight ahead of us.
Why should young people give a damn?
This is our future at stake. We need to take charge and decide what our futures hold, and not allow others to make that decision for us.
What is your favorite song right now?
“Working Man” by Kill the Autocrat
What is your favorite saying or quote?
Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. --Abraham Lincoln
Tattoos? If yes, what and where? Significance?
Yes, a four leaf clover on my right arm I got on St. paddy’s day when I was 18. I plan on more, my next will be a solidarity fist going through flames because the struggle makes us stronger. And I’m having a tribal Celtic half sleeve designed for my right arm by an artist friend because of my heritage and I get into that art work.