Our Vision: We elevate tradeswomen: women as equal and construction trades as honorable work. Our Mission: Build the North American representation in the global network of tradeswomen advocating for themselves.
The heritage walks were led by Islington Councilors Diarmaid Ward and David Poyser, who gave a detailed background of social housing in Islington, as shaped by and influence to architecture for over two hundred years.
Each group had the sobering and deeply moving opportunity to be the last members of the public allowed to tour the Holloway Prison prior to its demolition. The prison has a long history of housing suffragettes, environmental activists, and advocates for nuclear disarmament. In recent years, it became an important source of health and human services for women who had slipped through the cracks in society. In 2016 the prison was closed and the land was slated to be used for housing.
Tradeswomen Building Bridges partnered with Reclaim Holloway, a Coalition fighting for the Holloway site to be used for collective good, for this delegation. The group is particularly interested in the establishment of a women’s building to honor Holloways legacy. Another partner, community Plan for Holloway, is an independent campaign working to ensure that the Islington community is at the heart any plans for the redevelopment of Holloway prison. TBB believes it is important that women are involved in the planning, as well as the physical building of this new development.
As tradeswomen from Alaska to Norway and beyond, we are steadfast with the community leaders to assure follow-though for 60% affordable housing on the site, including 42% social housing so that a minimum 415 of new 985 housing units are inhabited by the populations who need housing in the borough. Furthermore, we emphasize the stark need for a Women’s Building to fulfill the needs of the community, and that these infrastructures provide opportunity for the work on the site to be performed by women in the trades. The transformative healing of this work, built by women, of women, and for women is essential to the purpose of our mission.
Today we kicked off the community organizing aspect of our Tradeswomen Delegation. We welcomed delegates from across the USA, Canada, and Norway with a reception hosted by the University of Westminster. This is the beginning of 10 days of programming to support women in every way working in the construction field. University of Westminster Vice Chancellor, Dr. Peter Bonfield gave opening remarks. He welcomed the whole delegation on behalf of the University, the industry, women’s organizations and London. He spoke about the Universities goal to become a movement for change, and to encourage students from diverse backgrounds to live their dreams.
We then heard remarks from Co-founder/ Painter Kathleen Santora and delegate/laborer Jenaya Nelson about the upcoming delegation and the work TBB does. Then the mic was opened for delegates to introduce themselves, their backgrounds and their work. We ended by introducing our Norweigan delegates, co-founders of a new Norwegian network of women in construction trades called Ingeborg-Nettverk, named after the first female plumber in Norway.
It was an outstanding start to what is sure to be an exciting 10 days of learning, networking, and leadership development.
On June 9th, Tradeswomen Building Bridges kicked off our London delegation with a Best Practices workshop hosted by the University of Westminster. We presented four case studies of successful regional strategies in Canada and the United States where the percent of women in the trades is now equal to or greater than 10%. The four programs shared 5 critical strategies which we have named the “game changers”. This event was intended to share strategies and success with UK construction industry stakeholders and give them an opportunity for discussion and reflection on what might be useful for improving gender diversity in their area of work. The event was livestreamed on facebook live and is available here.
First, we heard from Karen Dove, Executive Director of ANEW in Seattle Washington and Denise Nicole Franklin, the Director of Justice, Equity and Inclusion from ANEW. They shared how policy and collaboration is changing the face of construction in Seattle Washington.
Next, we heard from Maggie Budden, a Red Seal Iron Worker and a project coordinator for Canadas Office to Advance Women apprentices. She shared a Canadian model for inclusion and retention of women in the construction trades.
Mary Vogel (Executive Director) and Amy Courtney (Pipeline Navigator) from Building Pathways in Boston shared about their work creating visibility of tradeswomen as a way to encourage more women to enroll in training programs. They identified three main pipelines for bringing women in and retaining them once they get there.
The last case study was about how government and women’s organizations can advance successful construction careers for diverse workers. We heard a presentation from Tiffany Thompson, the director of Workforce Equity and Technical Assistance for Oregon Tradeswomen in Portland Oregan and Rahi Reddy, the Director of Equity and Inclusion for the Metro Regional Government in Portland about how they created a successful partnership that created opportunities for women to enter the trades in their area. We also heard from Nikea Hunter, the Culture Change Liaison from Oregon Tradeswomen, she shared her experience as a carpenter and how she is working to change the culture today.
There were responses to each presentation by members of the UK construction industry and we ended the day with a large group dialogue to focus on what is useful and what can be brought back to the various places of work that were represented in the audience.
We are extremely grateful to our European and American partners who came together to make this day of learning a success. The resources from the presentation can be found here Special thanks to our research director Dr. Susan Moir for her decades of work culminating in these best practices for use around the world.
This post is a little longer than normal but it’s for a good reason. We wanted to highlight the tradeswomen who have committed to our London Delegation. They have all exhibited amazing leadership qualities and have proven that they embody the TBB mission. While on the delegation, they will all be stepping up and taking on leadership roles within the program. We are honored to have them join us and look forward to meeting everyone in person. Below you will find pictures and bios for our delegates.
United Brotherhood of Carpenters (UBC), Local 343 Winnipeg, Manitoba
Leah is a Union Red Seal Carpenter for local 343 in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada. She has been working with PCL Constructors Canada Inc. for the last 6 years and currently holds the role of Site Supervisor. Before becoming a union carpenter Leah worked for 6 years in residential renovation and restoration for Doll Construction and was mentored by master carpenter Brian Doll.
Leah showed interest at a young age in building and grew up completing home renovation projects with her handyman Father. From a young age Leah was taught the importance of doing things right and quickly developed a love for building. She bought her first house at age 16 and continued to use the skills her father taught her to renovate. When her parents decided to move to Africa to build their own dream with Dashir lodge and Safaris and their non for profit organization Dashir Cares Leah was determined to keep learning and set out to find a new mentor. While it was a struggle to find a job with no professional experience Leah was eventually taken on by Brian Doll and was able to continue learning to build. In her spare time Leah enjoys spending time with her dog going on adventures and has taken up gardening and house plants with her extra time.
Soph R Davenberry
Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers (SMART) Local Union 66, Seattle Washington
Soph has been a SMART member for 25 years, and an advocate throughout. She worked her way up to an executive level leadership position and one of her first accomplishments in that role was to update policies and manuals of the organization to omit all gender references. She and her wife share their home with 1 dog, 2 birds, and 3 cats now that their son is an adult. They enjoy all the rainforest weather, greenery, and waters of where we live.
International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT), DC7 local 579, Oak Creek Wisconsin
Jennipher has been a paint maker with IUPAT for 18 years. For the past 3 years, she has been on staff at IUPAT DC7. She is a founding member of EmpowHER, a women in the building trades comittee. She is a member of IUPATs Women’s Comittee CORE Consituency group, through which she was involved in the creation of a maternity leave program. In her current role, she does communications and community outreach for IUPAT DC& in Wisconsin and Upper Michigan. She is a wife and mother. She enjoys doing DIY projects around the house and crafting with her daughter.
Piledrivers local 2520, Anchorage, Alaska
Joanna has spent 9 years working in the trades. She is a journeywomen piledriver and a certified welder. For the last three years she has been the Women in the Trades Coordinator for Alaska Works Partnership. In this role, she helps women through a pre-apprenticeship program and into the field. She also started a monthly gathering for women in all trades to form a community, network, and support system. In her spare time, she loves traveling, hiking, going on road trips, watching movies, and spending time with my husband, newborn son, family, friends and doggo.
International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) DC 21, Philadelphia Pennsylvania
Erin has been a union painter for 16 years. She is the commercial paint instructor for IUPAT’s Finishing Trades Institute. For several years, she has been the instructor for WINC (Women in Nontraditional Careers) Trades Readiness program. This is a six-week cohort, with NABTU’s MC3 (North American Building Trade Unions, Multi Craft Core Curriculum). Women were taught construction math, OSHA 10, Heritage of the American worker, and other related subjects. Erin takes great pride in recruiting women into the Philadelphia Union Building Trades.
Erin Loves her job and has a passion to reach other women in hopes that they too will consider a career in the building trades. Erin resides in Philadelphia, PA with her husband and her four boys. Her hobbies include working on her own home and helping others by painting interiors and exteriors to beautify their spaces. Erin is a member of NAWIC (National Association of Women in Construction), and chair for the MYWIC (Mentoring Young Women in Construction) camp, CLUW and the AFL-CIO.
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 124, Kansas City Missouri
Emily is a first year inside wireman apprentice. She is the Vice President of Heartland Women in Trades and the Liason Officer for RENEW for IBEW local 124. Her husband is a union carpenter.
UA Plumbers Local 55, Cleveland Ohio
Doreen has been a union plumber since 1998. She is the president of plumbers local 55 and in her 4th elected term. She is the chair of the Cleveland Building Trades (CBCTC) Tradeswomen Comittee and was Crain’s Cleveland Buisness Women of Note in 2017. She has one son Tommy who started kindergarten in the same year that she started her apprenticeship.
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IEBW, Local 11), Los Angeles, California
Crystal has been a union member for 8 years and is currently on her local union’s Executive Board. She is the national vice president for the coalition of labor union women, and on the executive committee of her unions electrical workers minority caucus. She is president of Los Angeles young workers, and a founding member of the Solidarity committee a space where we can focus on womens issues and support the out reach, retention, and advance of women in IBEW local 11. She is most proud of her work in the RENEW Lead program.RENEW Leads is leadership development program that focuses on centering young workers in the labor movement.
United Brotherhood of Carpenters Local 1907, New Westminster, Brittish Columbia
Barbara has 17 years of experience in the trades, 5 of them being in carpentry. She is currently in her fourth year of the UBCs carpentry apprenticeship. She is a Director at large for the BC Tradeswomen Society, Director for Build TogetHER, a Union Trustee and a Delegate. Outside of work, you will find her hiking a mountain with her sister and her huskey.
Denise Nicole Franklin
Operative Plasterers and Cement Masons (OPCMIA) Local 528, Seattle Washington
Denice has been in the construction industry since 2017, and is currently the Director of Justice, Equity and Inclusion for the organization Apprenticeship and Nontraditional Employment for Women (ANEW). She is also the director of RISE Up (Respect, Inclusion, Safety, and Equity in the Construction Trades), which is a respectful workplace program. She serves on the board of directors of the Regional Pre-apprenticeship Collaboration as the Vice President. The Regional Pre-apprenticeship Collaboration is dedicated to promoting and supporting the highest standards in training for our region’s pre-apprentices. She is an author, a national beauty queen, and a professional model. She is also a wife and mother.
United Association of Pipefitters (UA) Local 537, Boston Massachusetts
Shayla is a third year pipefitting apprentice at 40 years old. She worked in youth development for 18 years before working in construction. She started as a junior counselor and worked her way up to Program Director toward the end of her career. She I just felt she needed something different and that is when construction found her.
Kelly L Raeuber
International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE), Local 825. Hammonton, New Jersey
Kelly has been in the construction industry for 33 years and a member of IUOE local 825 for 15 years. She performes demolition, hazardous materials, and site work. She holds 16 different certifications and licenses that are used in her field and she is working on aquiring more. She operates 3.0 pieces of heauy equipment proficiently and will be working on adding rnore to her work card. Kelly is a member of the Local 825 Women’s Committee, an Apprentice Mentor with the Member Education Training and Labor Studies Program and a Peer Counselor for the Member Assistance Program.
Over the last 16 years, Kelly has been busy guiding supporting and working to retain women in the Construction lndustry. She has lead a Tradeswoman support group, taught workhops at Tradeswomen conventions, has given interviews on what it’s like to be a woman in the Trades and an Operating Engineer and has attended many political functions in support of women in the Construqtion lndustry.
ln her personal life, Kelly is an avid outdoorswoman. Among her favorite activities are hiking, camping, shelling and geology. She also enjoys kayaking, fishing, clamming, crabbing and horseback riding. The beach is definitely her happy place. lt’s somewhere that grounds and calms her soul and mind.
Pipeline Navigator for the Northeast Center for Tradeswomen Equity, Boston MA
Amy facilitates Tradeswomen Tuesdays every week where she provides an outline to career seekers of the steps to becoming an apprentice in the union trades. She also has a panel of current tradeswomen that share personal experiences of what is like day to day in the field as well as answer any questions the career seekers have. During her free time she loves spending time with family, listening to music and watching sports.
Pipefitters Local 537, Quincy Massachusetts
International Association of Iron Workers, Local 700 Windsor Ontario
Penny is a Red Seal Journeyman Ironworker Welder. She volunteers as a tradeswomen mentor within her union.
United Brotherhood of Carpenters, Local 327, Boston Massachusetts
Joan has been a carpenter for over 20 years. She loves to cook, and go to a good show, and to work out. She has two grandsons that she enjoys spending time with.
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.
United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America (UBC) Local 1503 Portland Oregon
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.
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 6 San Francisco California
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.
International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 101, Bonner Springs, Kansas
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.
United Brotherhood of Carpenters (UBC) Local 290, Long Island New York
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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!
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.
“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: