Meet Leah Rivera, Local 28

March 3, 2021


Retired sheet metal worker

What did you do before sheet metal?

I was a bridge painter before sheet metal

How did you hear about sheet metal?

NEW tricked me into going for an interview that turned out to be a test

Favorite sheet metal myth exposed

My favorite myth exposed about sheet metal is that you don’t have to be very strong, you have to be use your brain to work smarter not harder

Favorite part of your job?

My favorite part of the job was that it was something new everyday

What unique strengths do you bring to your trade?

I think that being able to think outside the box was a unique strength, knowing that my print was just like a recipe and I could tweak it if I needed

What do you love to do when your not at work?

Since I am not working I like to spend time with my family. I also liked traveling but COVID stopped that

What surprised you about your trade? 

What surprised me about the trade was that it had so many facets of the job. Whether it be the many different things we fabricate or the many different things we install and all their functions

What do you find frustrating about your job/trade?
What frustrated me was that still after all these years the sexism and racism

What’s the coolest job you’ve worked on? 

The freedom towers where one of the coolest jobs I worked on. I worked on the world trade and after they were destroyed. I became the shop steward of all the sheet metal jobs on the freedom towers

What traits do you think a good sheet metal worker has?

I believe that some of the traits a sheet metal worker should have is to be early (not on time-early) and that they should walk like they have a purpose (like you have somewhere you need to be).They should be willing to try and learn new things: and they should give a good days work for a good days pay

Best advice to give to an apprentice?

My best advice for an apprentice is that being an apprentice is only for a few years but this is a career that can take care of you for a lifetime so don’t let anyone tell you that you are not smart enough, or the wrong sex or color or that you don’t belong. You are there for yourself and your family so don’t let anyone who doesn’t know you or care about you push you out.

Tool you cant live without?

The tool I can’t live without is my vise grip

What do you think about Women Build Nations?

I love going to the Women Build Nations it’s a great learning experience for all who attend

Other advice?

Other advice would be to take night classes to add another tool to your toolbox