Father-daughter ironworkers talk about working together on Michigan Central Station rehabilitation

Posted at 5:39 PM, Apr 17, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-18 08:49:44-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Michigan Central is getting ready to reopen to the public this summer. All that restoration took the work of thousands of skilled trade workers.

Today I got the chance to talk to two Ironworkers, a father-daughter dynamic duo, about their craft.

Tiffany Younk didn’t start following her father’s career path but about four years ago she decided to make a change.

“She says, ‘Dad I want to be an ironworker.’ I said, ‘You can be whatever the hell you want,’” said Robert Younk, Union Ironworker.

“Took a little bit of time to get used to, going from being a CNA to doing physical labor with heavier weights and more intensity,” and Tiffany Younk, Union Ironworker.

For the past year and a half, they’ve been working together at Michigan Central, as union ironworkers for local 25.

“This is a career topper right here,” said Robert.

“This was the big start to my career. I did four or five months at a smaller job, and I did most of my apprenticeship here. I turned out from here,” said Tiffany.

Very few people have seen the restoration, but they have.

“So, what can we expect?” I asked.

“The Carriage House is gorgeous. That whole inside that building is gorgeous. We’ve been from the top to the bottom,” said Tiffany.

“What does it mean for you guys to share this project?” I asked.

“It’s a lifetime memory,” said Robert.

“To be able to work with her this whole time and teach her and pass on some of the knowledge I have…hopefully it’s all correct…and carry on my legacy,” said Robert.

They’ve learned more than expected.

“I found out over the course of working on this job site, my great-grandmother had a job at one point here too,” said Tiffany. “And I don’t know where she had worked in here or what exactly she did but she had worked on this building so it’s kind of cool to be stepping foot where my relatives stepped foot.”

Tiffany told me growing up her dad would point out all the buildings he had worked on.

“And now you get that sense of pride that he had telling the stories, but now it’s my own experience telling those stories, and I get my own sense of pride.”

Soon Michigan Central will be home to tech startups, nonprofits and open to the public again.

“It’s a really cool feeling to be connected to the past, all the history that happened,” said Tiffany.

“I think everyone in Detroit is going to love this building. I really do. I don’t know all that’s going to be inside it yet as far as shops and different venues, but I think they’re going to love an honor it forever,” said Robert.

Rob and Tiffany are just two of the 3,100 skilled trade workers who have been restoring Michigan Central.

I’ve seen the stone and of course, the ironwork that has been done and it is truly remarkable, and soon, we’ll get our first peeks inside.