TWBN Conference Breaks Attendance Record – Again

WASHINGTON, DCMonday, December 4th, 2023 – North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) held its 13th international Tradeswomen Build Nations conference – the largest gathering of its kind in the world. More than 3900 tradeswomen representing the U.S. and Canada gathered in Washington as a show of solidarity with their fellow tradeswomen, to learn about new programs and opportunities in the industry, and to engage with leaders from the government, industry and NABTU’s fifteen international building trades unions.

The three-day conference, held over the weekend, featured two plenary sessions, a banner parade in the heart of the nation’s capital, and a dozen workshops featuring topics that are critical to tradeswomen in the workforce, including leadership, recruitment, retention, conflict resolution, childcare, occupational safety, and more. The Saturday and Sunday plenary livestream videos and photos captured many of the incredible moments that took place over the weekend.

“Tradeswomen Build Nations has grown exponentially, and we know it will continue to grow,” said NABTU President Sean McGarvey. “NABTU is proud to host the largest annual gathering of Building Trades members and tradeswomen. The caliber of this event is shown through the quality of our speakers, exhibitors, and sponsors, and we thank them for their support of the highly skilled, hardworking women of the Building Trades. NABTU is committed to continuing to support them and increase opportunities for our sisters in the unionized skilled trades.”

Nancy Pelosi, Speaker Emerita of the U.S. House of Representatives; Julie Su, Acting Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor; Maria Ford, President of Commercial, Industrial, and Farm & Hardware for the Tools & Outdoor Business, Stanley Black & Decker, Inc.; Liz Shuler, President of the AFL-CIO and NABTU President Sean McGarvey kicked off the conference on Saturday morning with powerful messages for women in the trades.

The Sunday plenary included keynote speeches from Jim Williams, Jr., General President of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, Kilah Engelke, Business Agent of OPCMIA Local 599, and Nicole Schwartz, Executive Director of TradesFutures. Vicki O’Leary, NABTU Tradeswomen’s Committee Chair and Ironworkers International Director of Diversity; Erica Stewart, International Brotherhood of Boilermakers National Coordinator of Women in the Trades Initiatives; and Melissa Wells, Special Assistant to the President of NABTU emceed the event along with their NABTU Tradeswomen Committee members representing all of the NABTU affiliates.


About NABTU: North America’s Building Trades Unions is an alliance of 14 national and international unions in the building and construction industry that collectively represent over 3 million skilled craft professionals in the United States and Canada. Each year, our unions and signatory contractor partners invest almost $2 billion in private-sector money to fund and operate over 1,900 apprenticeship training and education facilities across North America that produce the safest, most highly trained, and productive skilled craft workers found anywhere in the world. NABTU is dedicated to creating economic security and employment opportunities for its construction workers by safeguarding wage and benefits standards, promoting responsible private capital investments, investing in renowned apprenticeship and training, and creating more construction career pathways to the middle class for women, communities of color, indigenous people, veterans, and the justice-involved. For more information, please visit

Media Contacts:
Betsy Barrett, NABTU (U.S.) || 202-997-3266
Amy Burlock | CBTU (Canada) | | 613-301-4795