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Trades Women ‘Are Organizing Together’ In The Rhode Island Building & Construction Trades Women’s Council

Published Tuesday, May 3, 2022
Trades Women ‘Are Organizing Together’ In The Rhode Island Building & Construction Trades Women’s Council

More than 30 Women joined from multiple Trades - including LIUNA Laborers’ Local 271, IUPAT Painters & Tapers District Council 11, Bricklayers Local 3, Heat & Frost Insulators Local 6, Iron Workers Local 37 and U.A. Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 51, in the Rhode Island Building & Construction Trades (RIBCT) Women’s Council.

The event’s featured guest speaker was Rochelle Sabatos of Arden Engineering, who spoke about her experience and the role of Health and Safety in advocating for all Workers’ Rights and for gender equity on the job.

The newly-organized Women’s Council is focusing on: Culture Change - creating more opportunities for Women to explore careers in the Trades and to support both recruitment and retention of new Women into the Trades; Advocating for Women’s Rights on the job - from ensuring rules that adequate sanitation facilities are met to supporting each other through Apprenticeship and beyond; and Community Advocacy - working together to advocate on issues that impact Trades Women and their communities, including to support expanded hours for childcare that would enable Trades Women and Men to access child care at the early hours they need.

The Women’s Council is chaired by two Journey Worker Tradeswomen - Darche Hood from Heat & Frost Insulators Local 6 and Vennicia Kingston from Laborers’ Local 271.

Both Women graduated Building Futures and continue to cite the importance of Pre-Apprenticeship in creating access for them to launch their careers in the Trades.

The Co-Chairs shared their experience of challenging expectations on the job and broad goals of the Women’s Council.

“By virtue of being a Mom and a Woman, I know I am able to do the job.  We know we are strong and equal to the work.  Now we have this opportunity to come together so that we can get our numbers up and expand our voice on the job,” Hood said.

Kingston recently launched her own contracting company, Eagle Eye Construction: “By launching my own company, I can run my own show and create opportunities for Women coming into the Trade.”

The Women’s Council is determined to be solution-oriented and positively focused, to provide a positive point of change and advocacy that will ultimately be beneficial to all Workers and stakeholders in the industry.

“We know the woes, but this is about solutions.  We’re going to get together with a single voice and we’re together at the Rhode Island Building and Construction Trades Council with the leaders of the Unions,” Kingston said.

The Council plans to hold events quarterly that are both informative and social, in addition to workshops on health and safety and advocacy issues.

The Council is open to all Members of RIBCTC Member Unions and is recruiting Board Members to join the leadership team.

The Executive Board of the RIBCTC has actively supported and encouraged this new organizing effort.

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