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‘National Women in Apprenticeship Day’ A Huge Success


On November 5th, America celebrated the inaugural National Women in Apprenticeship Day. President Obama, along with over a dozen Governors and Mayors, made proclamations praising the Building Trades apprentice programs.

NH Gov Hassan NWAD Proclamation 11.3.15“We recognize the ways apprenticeships foster innovation and prosperity, and we recommit to encouraging and supporting those who offer and partake in them,” proclaimed President Obama.

Across the country, the Department of Labor and local union activists, organized events to focus on the benefits for women of becoming an apprentice.

“The success of National Women in Apprenticeship Day can be measured by the supportive proclamations from governors & mayors, by the reach of 2.2 million impressions on social media, by the celebratory events held all over the country, by the 200,000 cars every day who passed by two different Boston union’s billboards each day last week, and by the enthusiasm with which tradeswomen all over the US shared “selfies” and stories from the job,” said Elizabeth Skidmore, Business Representative for the New England Regional Council of Carpenters.

“Events like National Women in Apprenticeship Day make concrete the growing support for advancing women in the trades,” Skidmore added.

In Boston, the Women’s Bureau and Office of Apprenticeship co-hosted a conversation on Women in Apprenticeship. Public sector leaders from U.S. Department of Labor, EEOC, and state, city, and county officials discussed examples of successful apprenticeship programs and some challenges women still face in entry and retention in many occupational fields.

In Lowell, MA the Women’s Bureau and the Greater Lowell Workforce Investment Board convened a roundtable discussion focused on Apprenticeships in Manufacturing.

Some of the other events included:

  • In Berkeley, CA the Women’s Bureau collaborated on an open house called Celebrating Women in Apprenticeship, which showcased the federal role in promoting apprenticeship and enforcing equal employment opportunity for women and minorities within the building trades.
  • In New York City, the Women’s Bureau attended an event hosted by Nontraditional Employment for Women called “Advancing Women in the Trades: Building on Success” to help increase awareness of and access to nontraditional occupations among women.
  • In Denton, TX, Women’s Bureau spoke at the National Apprenticeship Week event hosted by Power Line Holdings (PLH) Group at Northwest Lineman College.
  • In Philadelphia, the Women’s Bureau spoke at an open house at the Finishing Trades Institute and the District 1199C Training and Upgrading Fund’s Career Fair, which featured guest speakers and previous apprentices.

tipxsThe main focus of the National Women in Apprenticeship Day is to encourage more women to become skilled laborers. 47% of the national workforce is made up of women, yet only make up 4% of the building trades workforce nationally.

Thousands of women are taking the first step towards pay equity, while climbing the economic ladder to the middle class, by becoming an apprentice in one of the many Building Trades unions.

Last year the Building Trades began training 430,000 new apprentices, up nearly 50,000 from the previous year. On top of that, women now make up over 9% of all new apprentices. The National Taskforce on Tradeswomen Issues wants to raise that to “20 percent by 2020.”

There are a few of compelling reasons that women are choosing careers in the Building Trades.

  • The Building Trades offer women an opportunity to learn a valuable skill without years in college and the burden of thousands of dollars in student loans.
  • A women in the building trades has the potential to make $1.2 million dollars more in her lifetime than if she worked in a typical “woman’s” job such as childcare or food service.
  • Get paid while you learn. Apprentices on average earn more than $50,000 upon program completion, and have been shown to increase their compensation by approximately $300,000 over their lifetime compared to someone not completing an apprenticeship.
  • 90% of apprentice graduates enter and sustain meaningful employment.

All across the country, the unions of the Building Trades, are helping young workers find good careers in the Building Trades.

page_8plq95zy0z_1446225077Specifically here in New Hampshire a group of unions have come together to start a new program to give women a chance to see what a career in the Building Trades would look like. The program, Building Pathways, is a six-week class where participants get hands on experience learning about the different trade unions.

Last year, Annastashia Parke felt her life was headed in the wrong direction. She could not afford to attend college but knew she needed to do something more than working in a variety of low-wage jobs. She learned of the Building Pathways program, signed up, completed the pre-apprentice course and now is a second year apprentice with the Ironworkers Local 7 in Boston.

“I am a woman apprentice who is thrilled and grateful to be where she is,” she wrote. “Apprenticeships work; they are a pathway, unknown to many, and it’s about time we speak up!”

“White House Summit On Working Families” Focuses On Working Women And Their Families

(Image by Din Jimenez FLIKR)

(Image by Din Jimenez FLIKR)

Working families across the nation are struggling to make ends meet.  Unemployment is still too high, wages are too low, and people are working more and more, while getting less and less.

This week, workers from all across our great nation will be meeting with President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Dr. Jill Biden, and the Department of Labor for the White House Summit on Working Families.

The summit is focused on building an economy, and a workplace, that works for all Americans, with a focus on issues that face women and their families.  The Summit will focus on key issues such as workplace flexibility, equal pay, workplace discrimination, worker retention and promotion, and childcare/early childhood education.

Anna Neighbor, a Philadelphia adjunct professor cobbles together teaching positions at as many as four different colleges in a sometimes futile attempt to make ends meet.  She said college students are paralyzed by student loan debt, while a majority of their professors—like herself—work part time, are underpaid and receive no benefits.

Anna mirrors the struggles of many working people who have continued to see an erosion of their pay as the cost of living continues to rise. Even though Anna has an advanced degree, and is a college level educator, she receives no benefits and gets paid as low as $10 per hour.

Priscilla Smith, a teacher’s aide in Lake View, N.Y., near Buffalo, had to take on extra evening, weekend and early morning jobs to help her family financially.

We need to change the way we treat, and pay, our educators. The people, who are educating the workers of tomorrow, should not be forced to work two and three jobs to avoid living in poverty.

Gloria Wright, a 20-year Detroit preschool paraprofessional/assistant teacher hasn’t seen a raise in more than five years. She thinks about leaving the profession, but the pull of the rewards she receives from her students’ accomplishments keeps her in the classroom.

For many people serving their community is very rewarding, however you cannot pay the bills with the smiles of happy four-year olds. Like Gloria, many continue to live on the edge of financial ruin because they truly love the kids, and love what they are doing for their community.

Kendra Liddell a Seattle single mother is paid so little as a 10-year early childhood educator that she has to earn supplemental income to get by. She plans to get a degree in a better-paying field to bring some financial stability to her family, and then return to the classroom because of her deep commitment to serving families and her community.

For decades policy makers have been trying to find solutions to the fact that women continue to earn less than men.  In spite of our best efforts women on average make $.77 on the dollar to a man.  For women of color, the problem is even worse. “African-American women are paid only 64 cents, and Hispanic women only 54 cents, for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men.”

Women continued to be oppressed in the workplace. Across the board women represent 42% of the overall workforce. Yet women are often excluded from industries like the building trades, which pay much better than retail or office work.  In fact, only 2.6% of all construction workers are women, a number that has remained relatively unchanged for over 30 years.

Percent of Women in Workforce

Vanessa Casillas a bricklayer from Chicago, IL said, “I like being outside and working with my hands, and if I feel good doing it, why should I be limited if I’m a woman?”

Rocky Hwasta a carpenter of Cleveland, OH said, “I became a carpenter in 1985.  Women were not accepted then and are not accepted now.  Although I had a bachelor’s degree, as a single mom, I needed a good paying job with benefits to raise my family of three children.”

Women in the workplace 2

Recently eleven New Hampshire union building trades opened their doors in a special invitation for women to learn a lasting trade.  The Building Pathways NH program gave local women the chance to see what a career in the building trades would be with a rigorous, five week, hands-on introduction to the different skilled trades.  After they complete the Building Pathways program, they are invited to join a full apprentice program with any of the associated unions.

Elizabeth Skidmore, Business Agent for the Carpenters Local 118, helped create the Building Pathways NH program and will be speaking about the new and innovative program, as an invited guest at the Working Families Summit.

“I’m honored to be included in this summit and that the work a broad team has done over the last five years to increase the number of women working in union construction has been given to the White House as a national best practice,” said Skidmore. “Many partners, from labor to local, state and federal government, as well as union contractors and community partners, have worked together to identify and implement game changers, which has put more women to work in these high-skill, high-pay careers.”

The Working Families Summit will hopefully find solutions to some of the many problems that are plaguing working families.  Problems like low pay, good affordable healthcare, retirements, sick days, paid time off and pay equity.

Our economy does better when we all do better.  We need an America that works for everyone, businesses and workers alike.

Building Pathways NH Is Looking For Women Interested In Working In The Building Trades


BPNH_Flyer_2014 (1)


Five weeks, hands-on training in a variety of construction trades including carpentry, electrical, sheetmetal, plumbing, pipefitting, insulating, blueprint reading, labor history, construction math, interview skills & more.

Classes begin Monday, May 12, and end Friday, Jun 13, 2014.
Free:  there is no charge for the program.

Classes meet Monday – Friday, 7am – 3:30pm (construction site hours)

Base location:  Carpenters Training Center, 900 Candia Rd, Manchester.  Students will also go to other Building Trades Training Centers as well as to an active construction site.

Students will receive OSHA 10 and First Aid/CPR certificates.  Spaces are limited – max 13 students.

Who is Qualified?

The program is designed for female New Hampshire residents who are unemployed or underemployed, who are physically able to work in construction, are 18 or older, are authorized to work in the US, have a high school diploma or GED, are drug free and agree to drug testing, are on time, are interested in a construction career, can pass an 8th grade level English and math test and who have access to reliable transportation.  Women of color and female veterans are strongly encouraged to apply.

How to Apply?

Attend an Information Session, 6 – 7:30 pm on March 11, 13, 17 or 24, at the Plumbers and Pipefitters hall, 161 Londonderry Turnpike, Hookset, NH.  Do NOT be late.


Program Sponsors

The program is sponsored by the NH AFL-CIO, the NH State Building and Construction Trades Council, and the Carpenters Union.  It is supported by federal Workforce Investment Act funds, the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, and program partners.

For More Information

Contact Joe Gallagher, Building Pathways Program Coordinator, 603-948-8161, buildingpathwaysnh@gmail.com, PO Box 1097, Manchester, NH 03105.

Program information can also be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/buildingpathwaysnh.

Print this information from PDF here.

Click here for Printable PDF of color flyer.

A Labor Day Poem For The Men and Women in The Building Trades.

This is a Labor Day poem from Peter Terzick.
The poem appears in the book
Of Human Hands: A Reader In The Spirituality of Work
published in 1991.

The message is still true today.
Happy Labor Day.

I Am A Building Tradesman

I am a building tradesman

My hands are custodians of skills a thousand generations old, held in trust for a thousand generations to come.

My predecessors created the Hanging Gardens of Nebuchadnezzar and patiently put together the Parthenon.

My successors will construct platforms in space and way stations on the stars,

I harness the rivers, bridge the inlets, disembowel the mountains, and level the valleys to make the nation strong  in war and prosperous in peace.

The mightiest skyscraper begins with a stake I drive in the ground and ends with the turn of the owner’s key in a lock I install.

Between the stake and the lock I fight searing summer heat and bitter winter cold.

Danger is my constant companion and instant death lurks around every corner.

The astronaut begins his probe of the heavens from a launching pad I build.

The mightiest surgeon performs his miracles in an amphitheater I erect and provide with heat, light, water and technical equipment.

Even at the birth of the atomic age one of my brothers was there.

And when the first test proved successful, Enrico Fermi, the master scientist, placed his arm around the shoulders of this brother and said, “Gus, with all our education, what could we have done without your experience?”

I stand straight and walk proud, because I know my contribution to society is based on skill, not bluff; on sweat, not sweet-talk; on production, not press-agentry.

I am a building tradesman, belonging to a building trades union.

Because I am, I need to truckle neither to king or tycoon.

by Peter Terzick, (United Brotherhood of Carpenters & Joiners, Local 494)

 Thanks to Frank Callahan for sharing this. Also posted at MA Building Trades

UPDATED: Casino Free NH Distorts The Truth To House Joint Committee

More dirty tricks by Anti-Gaming casino lobby: Casino Free NH distorts testimony of labor leaders to house joint committee.

Feldstein desperate attempts to mislead legislature is a deplorable, new low in NH politics

Concord — NH Building and Construction Trades Council President Joe Casey responded to the misleading May 1st press release of Casino Free NH:

“I am disgusted and deeply disturbed by Lew Feldstein and the anti-casino lobby’s attempts to distort and misrepresent my testimony and the testimony of Mark McKenzie before the House Joint Committee.

To misrepresent our words in attempting to advance their own propaganda is shameful, sleazy, and deplorable. It’s clear how desperate they are and how far they intend to go to mislead our elected officials. This is a new low that shows complete disrespect for organized labor and the thousands of hard working, middle class families we represent.

After decades of preaching ethics in our public discourse, it is sad and unfortunate that Mr. Feldstein has chosen to drive the discourse down to the gutter and resort to the tired tactics of Jim Rubens and the rest of the anti-casino lobby.

I demand an apology from Mr. Feldstein to all of the working families we represent and a commitment that he will refrain from such shameful tactics and embrace a dialogue based on facts and real circumstances. The people know the facts. That’s why they support a casino in New Hampshire by an overwhelming two-to-one margin. The people despise tactics that Mr. Feldstein and his lobby are pursuing. The people truly deserve better.

We remain 100% committed to SB152, are thankful for the leadership of Governor Hassan and bill sponsors, and hope that these leaders are further spared the engagement of the misleading tactics of the anti-casino lobby.”

UPDATE 5-3-13

AFL-CIO President Mark Mackenzie released the following statement today:

“I am disappointed that Casino Free NH chose to take my testimony before the Joint House Committee out of context. I stated very clearly in my testimony that NH AFL-CIO supports SB152 because it has a strong potential to create jobs for New Hampshire’s working men and women. I also testified that union jobs assure better work conditions and better impacts on the community, and I will continue to work to make sure that happens. I’m confident that the construction jobs created through this bill, and the Rockingham Park proposal, will be a benefit to the state of New Hampshire, and I remain supportive of SB152.”

Do You Know Who LIUNA Is?

LIUNA - The Laborers' International Union of North America

LIUNA – The Laborers’ International Union of North America

Have you every heard the term, we build this country from the ground up! For many union members this is a statement that brings a smile to our faces and pride in our hearts.  Every union has taken part in creating our great nation.   The Ironworkers, the Carpenters, and LiUNA are just a few who have worked to build our nations great skylines.

Many people know about the Ironworkers and the work they do, as well as the Carpenters Union.  Do you know about LiUNA? You should, they are in every state, and most cities.  They are the people who fix your roads and bridges, and work to create some of the largest buildings in the country. All of the ‘Building Trades’ work together on these projects and that is just one of the reasons they are so good.

LiUNA is the Laborers’ International Union of North America.  It is important for people to understand who the workers are when they see them on the roads.  These are the hard working men and women who make our infrastructure what is today.  These are also the men and women who are more than ready to step up and fix our crumbling roads and bridges.

Don’t take my word for it, let the hard worming men and women of LiUNA tell you their story.

Just Another Example Of ‘Those Helpful Union Guy’s and Gal’s (THUGGs)’

Despite what the radical right tries to make you believe, unions are out there helping people and their communities every single day.

The New England Regional Council of Carpenters truly embodies this. They are working to revitalize their community by refurbishing a well known Boston landmark, the Ferdinand Building in Dudley Square. The Ferdinand Building was one of the largest furniture stores in the northeast, however it has sat dorment for nearly twenty years.

Now the city of Boston and the NERCC (Carpenters Union) are transforming the Ferdinand Building into the new home of the Boston Public Schools Department headquarters.

The Carpenters Union is also investing in the local community by also hiring local workers.  By taking local workers the Carpenters Union is doubling the investment in Dudley Square.  Workers take the money the city is investing in the project and put it right into the local shops and restaurants.

The Carpenters Union is also pushing for a more diverse workforce that truly represents the community.  This includes many different races and pushing for more women in the trade.   The best thing we can do for our community is to teach people how to earn a honest living with a good wage.  Everyone knows that union jobs pay better. Giving the people of Dudley Square the chance to get in the Carpenters Union, is just icing on the cake!

The Carpenters Union put together this great video showing everyone what they are doing with this historic Boston building.

Union Carpenters Use Influence To Create Jobs

There are many advantages to being a union member.  Union members tend to be higher paid, more skilled, and have higher safety requirements in the workplace.  The building trades especially are one of the most volatile industries.  When the economy tanks, companies (public and private) tend not to due large construction projects.  This is when being a union member is most beneficial.

The New England Regional Council of Carpenters (NERCC) is proud of the work they do.  Most recently they also helped create hundreds of construction jobs and even more long term jobs.  They NERCC  helped the city of Bridgeport to move forward on a project.

The project, the Fairchild Wheeler Multi-Magnet High School, is the largest school project in  Connecticut state history.   The building alone is over 340,000 square feet and will take two years to complete.  Along with the building’s massive size they are also constructing new and innovative technologies for energy.

The most important part of this story is the work that the NERCC did to get the project off the ground.  Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch said “The political action of the trade unions especially the Carpenter local 210 was really important, because the approval process was bogged down….Without the trade union support we would not be standing here building this school right now.

The Business Representative for Carpenters local 210, Mike Robinson, talked about making their presence known.  Robinson said “We probably had 50 plus carpenters at those meetings and it was very pivotal in getting this job through.”

This project is about helping Bridgeport workers.  With hundreds of carpenter hours over the next two to three years and the fact that over 60% of the workers are from Bridgeport,  this is a huge boost to Bridgeport’s economy.

Mayor Finch is also proud of the fact that Bridgeport uses union workers, prevailing wages, and Project Labor Agreements.  He said  through a PLA “we get a job done on time, and on budget.”

Once again the Carpenters Union how effective collective bargaining and grassroots efforts can be in creating new jobs and economic recovery.

IBEW Is Going Green With New Jobs

Jobs are slowly coming back. Now have unemployment at 7.8% nationally.  The Building Trades Unions have been some of the hardest hit workers in this recession.  When companies and towns are hoarding their money in the fear of economic collapse this means less money for expansion projects.

Durning this two year low some unions have taken the opportunity to train their workers for ‘Green Energy’ projects that are slowing gaining ground. Take for example these union workers in Vermont who are being trained on some of this new technology.

Green Tech Training Rolls Into VT.

“From solar panel installation to green electrical engineering the trailer is an invaluable educational tool on how to go green.”

The Green Mountain state is not the only ones who working to build a more eco-friendly electrical system.  The IBEW in San Deigo California (local 569) are going one step further. They are not only teaching their members how to install new green technology they are going out and building it.

Micah Mitrosky is an environmental organizer with IBEW and as she explains in the video she “works to make sure that green jobs, like solar, wind, geothermal, electric car charging stations are IBEW jobs, and also to build partnerships between our local and the environmental community, so we can build power and strengthen our labor movement.”

Projects like this a win-win. This project alone will provide 150 jobs for these IBEW workers all while reducing the dependance on fossil fuels for electricity production.

“It’s actually surprising if you look at the numbers and thousands of megawatts that we have under agreement, and the thousands of megawatts that we’re negotiating to be done by the IBEW. It’s a phenomenal amount of work,” said Nick Segura, Assistant Business Manager for IBEW Local 569.

The best part is that after the initial investment is recovered solar power projects like this will save millions of dollars.  In New Hampshire, they are currently building a new solar panel array on top of the parking garage at the Manchester Airport.  This 525 kW project is expected to save the airport $100,000 per year in energy costs.

Micah summed it up perfectly when she said

“We’re doing a project that is both creating good union jobs but is good for the local community and is exciting.”

  *      *      * 


International President Wise of the Ironworkers Talks About the “CHOICE” We Face This Election

Today the President of the IronWorkers, Walter Wise, put out a new message to all of the IronWorkers in America.  “This election is about choice” he said.  Pres. Wise is absolutely right.  Do we want a President who wants to reinvest our country by rebuilding our nations roads and bridges, therefore putting more workers on the job? Or do we want to elect a President who fights for “corporate people” and the Associated Builders and Contractors?

While this message is directed to the members of the Ironworkers union, it is the same for all people who work in any building trade.

The Presidents Message

As a Union Ironworker, you have a choice to make this Presidential Election.  When President Obama urged Congress to pass a vital infrastructure bill to put more Americans back to work, Romney’s political party said “no.”  Now, where is the investment for our future? The answer is simple: Job-creating infrastructure investments have been blocked by Republican filibusters in the Senate.

A special video message from General President Wise: You have a choice to make in this Presidential Election.

Fairness & Equality For All: A Special Endorsement Message From General President Wise.

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