From March 6–11, SMART once again celebrated Women in Construction Week, hosting a series of virtual events and distributing various videos to recognize the SMART sisters who make our union strong. The women of our union consistently strive to empower SMART and advocate on behalf of women and all workers — whether fighting against discrimination on the job or bargaining to include maternity leave in local benefits packages.
Women in Construction Week kicked off on Sunday, March 6, with a video message from SMART General President Joseph Sellers. During his address, General President Sellers used his time to both celebrate our union sisters and speak to the work currently being undertaken — and the work that still needs to be done — to make our union a leader in recruitment and retention for future generations.
“We are taking time this week to celebrate your valued contributions to our great union and to advance our plan of inclusion, diversity and equity for all members.”
– SMART General President Joseph Sellers
“We are taking time this week to celebrate your valued contributions to our great union and to advance our plan of inclusion, diversity and equity for all members,” he said. “With your dedication and professionalism, we will lead the way for future generations of SMART members.”
On Monday, SMART shared a video featuring Shamaiah Turner — a sheet metal worker out of Local 17 (Boston, Mass.) and a member of the women’s committee — and Mary Vogel, the executive director of Building Pathways, SMART’s sponsored organization for Women in Construction Week 2022. Building
Pathways connects workers in underserved communities with family-sustaining careers in the construction industry; a mission of vital importance for the future of unionized sheet metal.
On Wednesday, SMART released a video featuring Emily Wigre of Local 66 (Seattle, Wash.), who spoke about how her passion for boxing has complemented her sheet metal career and contributed to a healthy work-life balance. As part of the Women in Construction Week festivities, SMART sisters were given access to a free BRWL boxing class.
Throughout the week, numerous women of SMART were featured in Sister Tips videos, offering a range of advice for their fellow union sisters. The Sister Tips varied widely in length, topic and location. Local 285 (Toronto, Ont.) member Emily Blacktopp shared her experienc– completing her apprenticeship as a full-time mom, as well as the importance of the support she’s received from her union brothers as a tradeswoman; Jay Matos of SM Local 63 (Western Mass.) spoke about self-respect and standing up for oneself; and multiple women, including members from Local 28 (New York) and Local 265 (Northern Ill.), spoke about the importance of knowing your union and taking advantage of all that your local has to offer. Despite the vast scope of the subject matter, a common theme emerged throughout the videos: the strength and importance of union sisterhood.
Women in Construction Week culminated in the SMART Women’s Committee’s Friday night happy hour and bingo event, where SMART sisters across North America came together for bingo, drinks and camaraderie, and the winners of the Kids Drawing and Sister Spotlight raffle were announced. The end of the happy hour marked the end of Women in Construction Week 2022 — another successful celebration of the sisters who make our union one of the most dynamic and diverse in North America. The advocacy and solidarity SMART members displayed throughout the week did not end, though. That continues, no matter the week.
View the Women in Construction Week 2022 portal page, with links to all the videos and related content shared during the week.
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