Local 17 sisters lead way in Boston

February 10, 2023

Massachusetts, a state known for leading the way since the days of the American Revolution, is among those with the most women represented in the construction industry, at over triple the national average. To continue maintaining the state’s diverse path and role as a trendsetter, the Massachusetts building trades held a Women Build Boston Conference in early October, with over 700 attendees from across the state.

The conference was headlined by Governor-elect Maura Healy and U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, formerly the mayor of Boston and also a rank-and-file building trades union member. Both speakers emphasized the progress that has been made for women entering the trades; they also noted the work that must be done to make sure tradeswomen feel welcomed on the jobsite. That includes eradicating sexism in the workforce and expanding childcare during nontraditional work hours.

Local 17 (Boston) member Shamaiah Turner summarized the impact and importance of the conference when she remarked that “we are breaking barriers every day and constantly challenging the status quo so that women never again have to ask permission to be, do or have whatever they want.” SMART General President Joseph Sellers noted that “this conference” — like Tradeswomen Build Nations, held later in the month — “is a unique opportunity for our sisters to come together, share best practices and build the solidarity that will only strengthen the bonds between all of us.” He added: “I am proud to stand with them, today and every day, as we chart a path forward.”