Meet the London Staff!

Allow us to reintroduce ourselves! We come from a variety of locations across North America and represent many trades. There are some seasoned tradeswomen among our founders as well as some recent apprenticeship graduates. However, we are all comitted to our goal of elevating tradeswomen around the world. These are the people who have been working for the past two years to make our 2022 Delegation to London a reality.

Amber McCoy

United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (UBC) Local 1503 Portland Oregon

“ I am happy to be active in politics, bringing a working-class voice to everything I do and advocating for Women and BIPOC individuals full and equal representation in the construction industry.”

McCoy joined the construction industry doing residential remodeling in 2003 and became a union member in 2006. They are the UBC International Sisters in the Brotherhood (SIB) chair for the western district, a coordinator for the Pacific Northwest Carpenters Institute, and an elected Trustee for local 1503. They have previously travelled to the Philippines, Australia, and India, meeting and collaborating with Tradeswomen and unions. Things that make McCoy happy are good food, good people, and the love of their life.

Noreen Buckley

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 6 San Francisco California

“I am proud to be a union tradeswoman, I am passionate about creating equal space and opportunity for all people in the trades. Connected with tradeswomen globally has shown to me that we all face the same hurdles despite where we live.  Coming together and speaking with one voice will make us all stronger as we march forward in this movement!”

Noreen has been in the construction industry for 6 years, joining the union in 2017. She is the co-chair of the Golden Gate Women’s Committee and a co-founder of Tradeswomen Building Bridges. She was featured on ESPN when she participated in the 2020-2021 Ideal Electric National Championship and took part in their Wire-to-Wire web series. She is a proud mom to a 9 year old and two sweet pups! She enjoys playing soccer and she even started an IBEW soccer team in her home local.

Kelly McClellen

International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 101, Bonner Springs, Kansas

“When it comes to advocating with women about construction it is a badass fulfilling, rewarding and fun career, I cannot get enough of it!  There is no better way for global women to reach other global women than to come together with one mission and one voice! We are all in this together.”

Kelly has spent 25 years operating heavy equipment with IUOE and 6 years advocating in the women in construction movement. She is a member of the IUOE Sisters Leadership Committee and still thinks operating heavy equipment is fun after all these years. She is a mom, a step-mom, a wife and a grandmother to a 5-year old.

Cassandra Klewicki

United Brotherhood of Carpenters (UBC) Local 290, Long Island New York

“Building a supportive network of tradeswomen was the most important factor for me in this career. I couldn’t have gotten through my apprenticeship without a family of tradeswomen cheering me on and giving me advice. That’s why I’m so passionate about what TBB does.”

Cassandra has been a union tradeswoman since 2017 and is a co-founder for Tradeswomen Building Bridges. She is a graduate student at the City University of New York’s School of Labor and Urban Studies. She hopes to one day use her research as a vehicle for creating positive change in the construction industry. In her spare time, she volunteers for Planned Parenthood, hikes, camps, and travels.

Amanda Kay Johnson

United Brotherhood of Carpenters Local 157, Staten Island New York

“Daily, I try to build up others with knowledge and connections to opportunities, especially those that educate, improve skill sets, or place them in leadership roles.”

Amanda has been in the trades for 10 years, joining the union 6 years ago. She is a co-founder for Tradeswomen Building Bridges and has been on the collaborative team since 2017. Her favorite projects to discuss were the new Javits Center Expansion and the soon to be completed New York Wheel, a giant Ferris Wheel on Staten Island’s North Shore. Her favorite roles are sister, daughter and dreamer.

Susan Moir

Researcher, Boston Massachusetts

Despite being highly qualified, forty years ago Susan Moir was refused entry into a construction apprenticeship program because she was a woman. She became a bus driver, a leader in the Boston School Bus Driver’s Union and chair of her union’s health and safety committee.

Years later, when she was hired to work with the building trades on a multi-state construction health and safety research project, she began to take her revenge! She has devoted the remainder of her career to crushing the barriers to women’s entry into good jobs in the construction trades. She received a doctorate in Work Environment Policy in 2005, she is a founder of the Massachusetts Policy Group on Tradeswomen’s Issues and, in 2015, she received a Fulbright Award that led to the creation of Tradeswomen Building Bridges.

Cynthia Lee Frank

United Brotherhood of Carpenters (UBC) Local 945 Jefferson City Missouri

“I am very passionate about building the union stronger, shoring  up the middle class.  Increasing the number of women  within our unions will enable women to thrive in the global economy. Being that voice,  sharing those best practices from around the globe to encourage diversity, equity, and inclusion, is what I feel TBB promotes and is what I want to be a part of!”

Cindy Frank is a 42 year member of the UBC. She was the first woman president of a carpenters local, serving as the president of Local 945, and the Trades Women Task Force Action Committee co-chair. She is currently on the steering committee for Mid America Sisterhood of Carpenters. Before becoming a carpenter, she skated with the Ice Capades! Ballerina, tradeswoman, just proof that we can be anything we want to be if given the chance.

Dee Soza

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 551, Redwood Empire Sonoma County California

Dee has been a union electrician for 29 years. She spent 10 years working as a Business Representative and political coordinator for Local 551 and was elected as an Executive Board Member and Vice President for her local union. In 2009, the California 7th District State Senator presented her with the Woman of Labor Award.  In 2016, Tradeswoman Inc. named her Tradeswoman of the Year for outstanding contributions in support of women in the trades. She is a cofounder of TBB and attended our first delegation to India in 2017.   She is happily married, and if she is not kicking ass for the working class, she enjoys the open road, RVing, camping, fishing, and spending time playing games with friends and family.

Holly Brown

International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 3, Northern California

Holly was a Teamster for 10 years and a firefighter for two before starting her apprenticeship with IUOE in 1999. She was the dispatcher for the local and then the Apprenticeship Coordinator for several district offices. In 2021, she became the Senior Apprenticeship Coordinator. She is a co-founder for TBB and the chair of the North Bay Apprenticeship Coordinators Association. She was awarded Woman of the Year for Solano County in 2017. She has served on several local workforce development boards.

Kathleen Santora

International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) DC35, Boston Massachusetts

Kathleen is a 10 year member Local 939, where she serves as the financial secretary. She is on the executive board of the North Shore Labor Council and a co-founder of Tradeswomen Building Bridges.

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5 Weeks Until our London Delegation!

Exciting things have been happening behind the scenes at Tradeswomen Building Bridges this week! We recieved an order of TBB merch (to be debuted in London). Delegates are purchasing flights and housing. The details for our Best Practices Workshop are being finalized, and special guests are being added.

We wanted to take some time and recognize our USA support staff. They have been working hard for over a year in order to make this delegation happen for us. These ladies will continue to be on call while we are overseas and assist with whatever we need. Meet Allie and Veronica!

Allie Perez is a plumber from San Antonio Texas. She is the founder of Texas Women in Trades and the co-chair of the National Tradeswomen Task Force Communications Comittee. Allie is the most recent addition to the TBB team, and has been helping with marketing behind the scenes. Outside of TBB, she is the proud mother of a seven year old and partner of a feminist ally. She enjoys running, reading, singing, and acting.

“I’m a marketer. I can plumb, but my trade is marketing. I’m passionate about the movement to bring more women to the trades BUT also improve the conditions for tradeswomen so we can retain. I love using my marketing skills to promote the tradeswomen movement and messaging. Bringing our fight to the fore through media and marketing is my passion.”-Allie Perez

Veronica Godinez is a co-founder of Tradeswomen Building Bridges and served as a 2019 delegate. She is a journeywoman cement mason with 20+ years in the trades as a concrete finisher, instructor, safety coordinator, manager, and now Apprenticeship Director. She is a member of Local 400 and the Steel Edge Women of the OPCMIA. She has been helping us by working on the planning comittee and by fundraising for the organization.

Veronica Godinez
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Two Months Until Our London Delegation!

It’s official! Our board has unanimously voted to continue with our plan for the third international North American Tradeswomen’s delegation to LONDON. While this delegation has been in the works for over a year, we learned from our experience with Covid-19 to be flexible and allow for changes of plans. Now we can say with absolute certainty that from June 9-20th 2022 North Amerian tradeswomen and advocates will spend two weeks in London meeting with workers, union leaders, policy makers, and community advocates.

What will the delegates be doing?

They will network with tradeswomen from across North America and the globe.

They will learn about London’s construction industry and build relationships needed for useful two-way dialouge on improving the lives of women construction workers across the globe.

They will strategize with Unite the Union, a UK union meeting the greatest challenges facing European working people today.

They will meet with regional members of Builders and Woodworkers International.

They will build leadership experience and skills during the trip, as we match each delegate with an opportunity to contribute.

They will hear about the latest research around construction buisness practices and industries from expert academics.

They will expand international solidarity between tradeswomen while building a global network.

What else will TBB do in London?

Additionally, Tradeswomen Buiding Bridges will host learning exchanges between stakeholders to develop best practices for recruitment and retention of women in the skillled construction trades.

What has TBB been doing to prepare?

Our team of cofounders and volunteers have been working for months. Spending countless weekends and evenings doing programming and logistics planning, fundraising, advertising, reviewing applications and more. We took countless meetings with industry partners, non-profits, academics and tradeswomen all over the world to put this on,. In Febuary, a group of four members went to London for a whirlwind logistics trip. There we scoped out housing, venues for the various events, met with countless UK partners and made sure our scheduled activities could actually be completed in the time alotted.

Our logistics team in front of Trades Union Congress’ headquarters, after we viewed potential event spaces in the building

How can I help?

You can help by subscribing to updates and then liking, sharing and commenting. You can subscribe to the blog by putting your email in the upper right corner of this page. Other ways to sign up for updates include:

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You can also help by donating. You can support TBB as a whole, or you can sponsor one of our 50 North American Delegates. Contact tradeswomenbb@gmail.com for more information.

Posted in Conferences, construction, construction workers, contractors, unions, women, workers welfare | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Tradeswomen Building Bridges is going to London!

TBB is sponsoring the first Delegation of Tradeswomen to London in June 2022. We are planning on up to 50 Delegates from across North America who will represent the diversity of women working in construction by racial and ethnic identity, by trade and by geography. Applications are now being accepted for the Delegation. APPLICATIONS ARE CLOSED.

We will be supporting the community struggle to create livable, sustainable and affordable housing and the construction of a Women’s Building on the site of the closed Holloway Prison and advocating for greater participation by women in the trades in the UK. Currently women make up only 1=2% of trades workers in the UK. We will be visiting construction sites and training centers across London. On the final weekend, we will be meeting with tradeswomen from the UK and across Europe to discuss ways to create regional tradeswomen’s networks and promote greater international solidarity among women working in construction across the globe.

Apply here if you would like to join the 2022 Tradeswomen Building Bridges Delegation to London!

For more information, email tradeswomenbb@gmail.com.

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Korean Tradeswomen organizing

Last year, Tradeswomen Building Bridges had an online exchange with representatives of the global labor federation, Building and Woodworkers International BWI). We had a presentation from Kim Kyungshin of the BWI-affiliate, the Korean Federation of Construction Industry Trade Unions. Kim was representing KFCITU’s Women’s Committee. The Women’s Committee is committed 

  • to recruiting women workers, 
  • supporting their skills enhancement
  • improving the working environment for them in South Korea’s construction industry, a sector that has long been considered male-dominated. 

Under the umbrella of KFCITU, about 3,000 women workers are organized by the Plant Construction Workers’ Union, which covers power plants and large manufacturing facilities construction, and about 300 women carpenters, bar benders, plasterers, etc. and 100 tower crane operators by Construction Workers Union, and a few by construction white collar workers’ union

One of Women Committee’s priorities is to raise awareness about women in trades in the construction sector by showing that women are working in construction sites. To this end, Women’s Committee has held Photo Competitions for Women Construction Workers for the past four years.

Download Kim’s presentation and view the the photos of Korean tradeswomen below.

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Tradeswomen Building Our Global Network: Join us on Nov. 21

“Women construction workers are symbolic of all of us who are brave, who work to survive, to challenge, to transform, to imagine a different world.” – Vivian Price

On November 21, Tradeswomen Building Bridges will host an online zoom event celebrating 25 years of international connections between women working in the construction trades.

The first part of the event will be the 2005 film, Transnational Tradeswomen. Written and directed by former Electrician Professor Vivian Price, the film documents the tradeswomen’s workshop that was held at the 1995 UN Conference on Women in Beijing and Vivian’s travels to meet women working in construction in India, Thailand and the Philippines. The film will be shown at 8:45 am PT, 11:45 ET and can be viewed at anytime at this link.

Following the film there will be two panel discussions and time for Q&A from attendees.

  • The first panel will be Vivian and two other tradeswomen who were at the Beijing workshop, retired Elevator Constructor, founder of Oregon Tradeswomen Inc and co-chair of the Tradeswomen Taskforce Connie Ashbrook, and Liz Skidmore, Business Representative and Organizer for the North Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters and co-founder of the Policy Group on Tradeswomen’s Issues.
  • The second panel will include women from the 2017 and 2019 Tradeswomen’s Delegations to India talking about their trips. who they met and what they learned. You have read their posts. Now meet them virtually. The event will wrap with more information about the planned International Tradeswomen’s Conference in Madrid in 2021.

Join us! Please share the information among your sisters and on social media. Registration is free and easy at:

GlobalTradeswomen.eventbrite.com

You will receive the zoom link a couple of days before Nov. 21. Comment below with any questions.

facebook-post

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Condolences to our sister, Radhika K Prakesh, Head Mason at the Archana Women’s Centre, on the sudden loss of her husband

By Susan Moir

A dear friend of Tradeswomen Building Bridges, our sister Radhika of Kerala India, lost her husband Prakesh very suddenly to a heart attack on August 11. Radhika and Prakesh have two children. Their daughter, Nayana, is in her first year of nursing studies and their son, Nithin, finished his high school studies this year with very high marks while also assisting his father in fishing and farming.

Prakeah and family

From front: Nayana, Radhika, Prakesh and Nithin

Radhika and Prakesh worked together as paddy farm laborers in the backwaters of Kerala. Paddy workers only work six months out of the year. In 2007, Radhika learned that the Archana Women’s Centre was training women to become masons. She completed the training and, in 2008, she was part of the team that built Archana’s new centre in Vettimukal. She very soon took charge of the project and became the Head Mason. Since that time, she has become a trainer of women masons and has given training throughout Kerala and in other states in India.

I met Radhika on my first trip to Kerala and Archana in 2015. My new friend, Thresiamma Mathew, the Director of the Archana Centre, asked if I would like to visit a house being built by a women mason. Of course I would.

4 at dock

We drove over bridges and along canals until we reached a place where Prakesh and Radhika could pick us up on their boat.

build house

We rode through the backwaters until we reached their house, the house that Radhika was building herself with her husband as her helper. I met her children and we ate mangos as she showed me the process of building a house of cement blocks on water.

I next spent time with her in January 2019 at the “International Conference on Making Non Traditional Livelihoods (NTL) Work for the Marginalised” in Delhi. Radhika joined women from across India and from Brazil on a panel of tradeswomen describing their experiences.

Panel on tradeswomen

In November 2019, Radhika was one of the women of Archana who hosted the Second Tradeswomen Building Bridges Delegation.

WOMEN MASONS ACROSS BORDERS
Bricklayer Jenna Lipinski, Canada; Head Mason Radhika Prakesh, India; Mason Veronica Godinez, United States

We extend our deepest sympathies to Radhika and her children at the loss of their husband and father. If you would like to make a contribution to the family and to the work of Archana in training women for family-supporting work in the skilled construction trades, please send a check to Noreen Buckley (Tradeswomen Building Bridges Treasurer), 1675 Oakdale Ave, San Francisco, CA 94124.

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On the passing of our sister, Jin Sook Lee

We only met her a handful of times, but she was the champion we had been seeking for years. We extend our deepest condolences to Jin Sook’s family and friends.

BWIIn 1995, a group of tradeswomen from around the world met at the UN’s World Conference on Women in Beijing. An Electrician who was at that meeting, Vivian Price, later traveled to Asia to meet women working in the construction trades and she made a film, Transnational Tradeswomen,* about the women she interviewed. From those two events came the dream of an international network of women working in the construction trades. Twenty years later, the First Building Bridges Delegation of women from the US toured India meeting women construction workers and their union representatives and advocates. It was a life changing experience for all of us, but a dozen rank-and-file working tradeswomen (and one researcher) traveling across the world does not make an international network. 53091870_10218678567378978_3135115496588836864_oWe knew that we needed an institutional home and that it needed to be a labor home. We found that home when we met Jin Sook Lee, the Global Campaign Director of the Building and Wood Workers International (BWI), a global union federation of construction workers with a strong commitment to organizing women. In 2018, Jin Sook and Rita Schiavi, President of BWI’s International Women’s Committee, traveled to Women Build Nations in Seattle to meet us. That week, we began planning for an international conference, the one that would have been held this month in Madrid except for the pandemic.

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Jin Sook with youth leaders Dayang Salleh and Ana Rosdianna

Last year, the Second Tradeswomen Building Bridges Delegation spent nearly two weeks in Kerala, India with the Archana Women’s Centre and members and leaders of BWI in India. The success of the Second Delegation was due to Jin Sook’s hard work and the commitment she shared with us to build a truly Global Network of women working in the construction trades.

The international conference will happen — when it is safe– and we will create the Global Network. Jin Sook will not be with us but it will be in her honor. To our sister, Jin Sook Lee, we say ¡presente!

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*Follow us here and on Facebook for more on Transnational Tradeswomen. We are hoping to have a watch party and panel discussion with some of Tradeswomen Building Bridges founders and some of the tradeswomen who were in Beijing in 1995.

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BC Building Trades mag features Millwright Ant Yap and Electrician Katy Rhodes on their visit to Kerala

The spring 2020 issue of the British Columbia Building Trades Council member magazine, tradetalk, features two of the Canadian tradeswomen who participated in the 2019 Tradeswomen Building Bridges Delegation to Kerala India. In the article titled “A Bridge Not Too Far, Antoniette Yap (Millwrights, Machine Erectors and Maintenance Union Local 2736) and Katy Rhodes (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 213) describe their experiences meeting with leaders and members of India’s largest construction union and spending time with the women of the Archana Women’s Centre. Ant describes the trip as “eye opening and educational.” Katy reports that she “was surprised by the similarities faced by women in construction across the two cultures. ‘Women want to be independent to support their families,’ she said. ‘They want a living wage.'”

To read the entire article, click here and go to page 18-19 of tradetalk.

ant katy

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Register now for the Global Women in the Trades Conference, Madrid, June 2020

Join us for the first international gathering of tradeswomen from across the globe!

The first international conference for women working in the construction trades, BWI’s Global Women in the Trades Conference, will be held in Madrid, Spain from June 9-12.

The conference  is sponsored by the Building and Wood Workers International, a Global Union Federation which represents women across the world who work in the trades in the Building, Building Materials, Wood, Forestry and Allied sectors. BWI has supported the Tradeswomen Building Bridges Delegations to India and networking with tradeswomen in the Philippines and Australia.

The conference will be held at the Hotel Melia Barajas located at Avenida De Logrono 305, Madrid, Spain.

Conference registration is now open at https://www.aanmelder.nl/bwigwt/subscribe. You can also make your hotel reservations at that link. Hotel reservations require a credit card and are not refundable. The deadline for booking the hotel at the conference rate is April 24.

(I had some trouble accessing the hotel link on Google Chrome but it worked on Safari. If you have any problems, you can email the hotel directly at melia.barajas@melia.com. Be sure to tell them that you need the conference rate.)

There is no fee to register for the conference itself so costs are limited to airfare and hotel. Book with a sister tradeswoman and save money with a double room. US and Canadian citizens DO NOT NEED a visa to travel to Spain.

Please note the deadline for conference registration is April 6, 2020.

Read and download the conference call and the program here.

For questions about the conference, email Susan Moir at susan.moir@umb.edu with “Madrid” in the subject line. We can also set up a time for a phone call.

Spread the word to tradeswomen near and far. Let’s meet in Madrid in June!

 

 

 

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