WASHINGTON, DC – Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020 – North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) successfully concluded its tenth international Tradeswomen Build Nations (TWBN) conference over the weekend. More than 1300 registrants gathered online and at watch parties across North America to inspire, empower and share experiences of U.S. and Canadian tradeswomen. The event addressed current issues facing tradeswomen in our industry, including the COVID-19 pandemic, racial and gender injustices, economic security, health and safety, and increasing opportunities within the building trades for historically marginalized communities, especially women, people of color, indigenous people, and veterans.
“NABTU and our Governing Board of Presidents could not be prouder of the success of this conference and movement,” said NABTU President Sean McGarvey. “I always say this conference cannot get better, but every year, it does. The movement’s impact in our unions, industry and throughout North America is significant and growing.”
“The extraordinary connections, tools, resources, and support that tradeswomen gain from attending Tradeswomen Build Nations are like nothing else in our industry, and it’s the largest attended event NABTU hosts,” said Vicki O’Leary, NABTU Tradeswomen Committee Chairwoman and Ironworker International Director of Diversity. “Given the challenges of this pandemic and all that we’re facing this year, we were thrilled to virtually host this conference and demonstrate NABTU’s unwavering commitment to supporting growth opportunities and fostering respect for tradeswomen. The powerful speakers and discussions not only kept up our movement’s momentum but also reinforced the value of our sisterhood that help each of us keep up our good work.”
This year’s 3-hour conference featured a formal plenary session with inspiring speakers and videos. Participants heard from insightful thought leaders from government, business and labor. Speakers included: U.S. Senator and Vice-Presidential nominee, Kamala Harris; Facebook COO and Lean In Founder, Sheryl Sandberg; Southern Company Gas Chairman, President and CEO Kim Greene; American Petroleum Institute Executive Vice President and COO Amanda Eversole; Mayor of New Orleans LaToya Cantrell; NABTU President Sean McGarvey; AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Schuler; IBEW District Vice President Gina Cooper; NABTU Tradeswomen Committee Chairwoman and Ironworker International Director of Diversity Vicki O’Leary; CBTU’s Workforce Development Director Lindsey Amundsen; and Boilermakers International Industrial Sector Representative Erica Stewart, among others.
After the plenary, attendees took part in a workshop to unveil the virtual Lean In Circles for Union Tradeswomen program, a new mentorship and retention program developed for and by tradeswomen to empower building tradeswomen as they address unique and critical issues of tradeswomen in the workforce. Panelists and participants shared personal stories and insights into being a tradeswoman, as well as best practices to help persevere through adversity and create more inclusive workplaces. This new international program will be launched across North America in January 2021.
NABTU’s 11th Annual Tradeswomen Build Nations is scheduled to take place in New Orleans, Louisiana, on October 1 – 3, 2021.