This Brooklyn-Based Woman is Living Her Dream as an Ironworker: “You Have to Prove Yourself Through Your Work’
April 12, 2021
By Katie Mather
As a member of the International Ironworkers Union Anastasiya Grishkevich is passionate about what she does. In fact, the 28-year-old jokes that it’s no surprise she ended up working with metal — considering how much she loved jungle gyms as a kid.
“Being an ironworker means that you work with the steel,” she explained to In The Know. “We are always the second ones on the job after all the excavation is done [and] we’re there until the skeleton of the structure goes up.”
Grishkevich grew up in Brooklyn and got her start in college, back when she was offered the opportunity to join the Ironworkers Union.
“They were looking for more women welders, I mean, especially for women to come into the workforce,” she said. “It’s insanely competitive to get accepted and then to make it throughout the program as well.”
Part of the program involved a physical test, where Grishkevich had to practice climbing a 35-foot column in less than 45 seconds.
“When I finished my apprenticeship, I just felt like it was the biggest accomplishment that I had so far and now I had something real,” she said.
The challenges didn’t end at the 35-foot column. For most jobs, Grishkevich deals with a lot of heavy lifting — literally, she’s working with steel — along with the occasional misconception that a woman can’t handle such heavy lifting.
“For me, it’s always just been, you have to prove yourself through your work and have a tough skin,” Grishkevich explained.
There are around 120,000 members of the Ironworkers Union, with nearly 2,000 of them being women. But fortunately, that hasn’t stopped Grishkevich from working on impressive New York landmarks, like LaGuardia Airport and the Manhattan Bridge.
“You can see what you did,” Grishkevich said in regards to her favorite part of the job. “This is what my labor brought out.”