Oregon Tradeswomen is a Union Shop!

We are pleased to announce that Oregon Tradeswomen is a union shop! In February of 2023, the staff at Oregon Tradeswomen came together to organize under the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) Local Lodge 63. By the end of 2023, a collective bargaining agreement was reached that serves the needs of both staff and the organization.

In our nearly 35 years as an organization, Oregon Tradeswomen has been driven by our mission to empower women to break barriers and thrive in the traditionally male-dominated construction trades. Not only does that entail providing training and career support, but that all workers, Oregon Tradeswomen graduates or not, are treated fairly and have a voice in the workplace.

Oregon Tradeswomen’s Bargaining Team with their contract!

Through the ups and downs of the bargaining process, we have committed to these values, ultimately ensuring that our workers have a seat at the table in how Oregon Tradeswomen moves forward as an organization. Starting in January 2024, Oregon Tradeswomen’s first union contract took effect, establishing a 4-day work week and securing competitive wages and benefits for staff as they work hard to serve the community. In the spirit of collaboration, the contract also established an Ad Hoc Committee comprised of staff, management, and subject matter experts to discuss how Oregon Tradeswomen moves forward regarding organizational structure, and staff roles and responsibilities. The Ad Hoc Committee met regularly and, by the end of March, successfully produced recommendations put into action by Oregon Tradeswomen’s management team, including a plan to hire the staff power needed to achieve our common goals and further our mission.

This milestone is exciting for us as an organization that supports the good work of unions in the skilled trades, as well as the work of the labor movement that is in the midst of a much-needed resurgence. Through some solid teamwork between the union and management, Oregon Tradeswomen can proudly declare that we are a union shop! Stay tuned for more updates as we continue to pave the way for a brighter, more equitable future in the skilled trades. Together, we are forging a stronger, more united Oregon Tradeswomen!

Women are the Key to the Future of Construction

Oregon Tradeswomen, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau and Portland Community College (PCC), celebrated Women in Construction Week at our “We Are the Key” event on March 4th! With the theme of this year’s Women in Construction Week being “Keys to the Future,” tradeswomen and advocates from across the industry gathered to talk about why Oregon women are the key to the future.

Hari Chon, Program Analyst for the U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau, opened the event by sharing the origins of the Women’s Bureau back in 1920, two years before women got the right to vote. Established by the U.S. Department of Labor, the Women’s Bureau was formed to promote the welfare of women and advancing opportunities for women in the workforce. Through research and grants such as the Women in Apprenticeship and Non-Traditional Occupations (WANTO), the Women’s Bureau is actively working in alignment of Oregon Tradeswomen’s vision to improve and increase women’s participation in high-skill, high-wage union careers in the skilled trades. Oregon Tradeswomen is grateful for Hari and the Women’s Bureau for their support.

The event took place at Portland Community College’s new Opportunity Center, a space built in alignment with project labor agreements ensuring the work was done with diversity, equity, and inclusion in mind. Amy James Neel, Workforce & Contracting Equity Manager for Portland Community College, detailed that PCC incorporated voices from the community in the design and planning of this project, and worked with contractors, subcontractors, dispatchers, union halls, and apprentice coordinators to maximize opportunity and access for women and BIPOC workers to earn a living wage in these careers. In fact, 10,599 (51.5%) total hours were worked by apprentice women, 4,402 (41.5%) total hours were worked by BIPOC apprentice women. The total hours worked by women were 12,308 (16.8%), meeting and exceeding project goals. We were thrilled to learn that some of the tradeswomen who attended the event worked on the project and were excited to revisit the space that they helped build. To be in a space exemplifying the goals and intentions of Oregon Tradeswomen was inspiring, and we thank PCC for hosting us.

With a venue whose planning and construction not only talked the talk, but walked the walk, it was fitting that our event speakers echoed the need to tear down barriers enforced by systems set up to serve the interests of a select few rather than us all. Sebrina Owens-Wilson, the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Metro addressed how government agencies are coming together to find ways to help women and people of color access these high-wage, high-skill union jobs. One pathway towards progress is the implementation of Project Labor Agreements (PLA) and Community Benefit Agreements (CBA) such as the ones that were enforced on the PCC Opportunity Center project to much success. Our regional framework sets goals that ensure 20% of hours each week are worked by apprentices, 14% worked by women, and 25% worked by BIPOC. Sebrina spoke further on the importance of funding pre-apprenticeship programs to train up qualified and diverse workers, community organizations that reduce barriers to employment, and jobsite culture change programs such as RISE Up to increase the retention of a diverse workforce. This work is ongoing as shifting systems is a long game, but Sebrina left on the message that, “As women, we can do amazing things on our own… but we can move mountains if we work together.”

The theme of strength and working together towards a better future was emphasized when Isis Harris, Union Electrician with IBEW Local 48, Oregon Tradeswomen Board Member, and small-business owner, took the stage. Isis echoed Sebrina’s words when she spoke about coming together to collectively build a better future for women and the construction industry. By forging life-long friendships and mentorships between tradeswomen, we can foster an environment that highlights the potential of women and lifts each other up. While we can hold the door open for more women to enter the trades, Isis reminded us that we need to act now to retain the women who cross that threshold. The keys to retaining women in construction start with breaking down systemic barriers to employment such as access to childcare and maternity benefits. As we look to change the systems, we need accomplices to do this work. Together, we can lobby, advocate, and build systems that work for women and people of color. “We are not only the future, but we are the dismantlers of the past,” Isis shared. “Our walk is no longer about hopes and dreams, but the execution of strategized plans. Here and now, we are working lockstep towards a more sustainable future for women in construction. There is no completeness in the industry without us. There is no week on the calendar strong enough to contain our greatness. We are here not to forge a path, but to pave a freeway for women in the trades.”

Following Isis’s powerful message, Susan Rodway, Treasurer at IBEW Local 48, moderated a panel discussion with Anjanet Banuelos Bolanos, Business Representative at LiUNA Local 737, Liz Nichols, Business Representative at Cement Masons Local 555, Montana Maurice, Project Engineer at Anderson Construction with Carpenters Local 271, Sharon Maxwell, Owner of Bratton Construction, and Willow Ryan, Co-Chair of Sisters of Iron with Ironworkers Local 29 as they shared about their paths into the trades, experiences with mentors and allies in the industry, and how to take your career to the next level. Three things became clear: Access to pre-apprenticeship training offered a pathway for all these women to find successful careers in construction; Mentors, allies, and a support system in general are crucial for successfully training and retaining women in construction; Women are held to a higher standard than their male counterparts and must go above and beyond to prove their themselves in the field. This panel illuminated the shared experiences of tradeswomen across trades, provided insight into where we are, and painted a picture of what the future could look like if we continue to collaborate on this important work.

As Donna Hammond, Interim Executive Director of Oregon Tradeswomen, took the stage, she shared how struck she was by the collective passion and dedication that filled the room. Being a native Portlander born into a strong union family, and someone who became a pioneer for black women in construction in her 40+ years as a Union Electrician, Donna spoke about how humbled and inspired she was to share the stage with so many leaders in the tradeswomen movement. She reminded the crowd that “we convene here today not just as attendees, but as master builders and narrators of our own unique stories.” By sharing and amplifying these stories, Donna says “we lay a foundation for future growth and change in our industry.” Donna also announced a new and exciting partnership between Oregon Tradeswomen, IBEW Local 48, and the Department of Energy to create pathways for African American women and other women of color to enter the skilled trades with a focus on being certified as electrical vehicle changing station installers. We are excited to progress our mission to diversify the trades while providing access to high-wage careers that utilize cutting-edge technology in this new era of green energy infrastructure.

Donna closed out the event by circling back to the theme of the night, asking “Who holds the key?” to which the room exploded in a cheer of “We are the key!” The enthusiasm of the attendees was palpable, and sharing space in this beautiful new building was the perfect way to kick off Women in Construction Week. Thank you to the Women’s Bureau and Portland Community College for collaborating on this inspiring event and showing unwavering commitment to our cause. Together, we hold the key to building a more inclusive future for women in construction.


Statewide Expansion Reaches Lane County

Oregon Tradeswomen continues to expand our pre-apprenticeship training opportunity for women to new communities in Oregon. Our incredible team, and a host of industry partners and supporters, worked hard to bring our Trades and Apprenticeship Career Class (TACC)  to Lane County this summer. It’s our largest cohort of students outside of the Portland Metro area so far!

Excited doesn’t even begin to capture our feelings about offering our BOLI-certified pre-apprenticeship training program to even more women and gender minorities across the state of Oregon. Over the 8-weeks of training, these students will be hard at work preparing to take the next step into registered Apprenticeship and a career in the skilled trades!

This new venture would not be possible without the dedication and support of our many partners who helped us get here. Huge gratitude to UA Local 290, for our ongoing partnership, and for hosting our Summer TACC at their state-of-the-art training center in Springfield, Oregon. This cohort of pre-apprentices have a wonderful facility to build a strong foundation of skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in their chosen career in construction.

Oregon Tradeswomen was also thrilled to work with Terry Bierwirth of Second Story Marketing Group to get the word out about our first Lane County training opportunity. Our team first met Terry many years ago as part of her Skilled to Work campaign on KEZI in Eugene. With Second Story Marketing Group as our partner, we were able to recruit the most students we’ve ever had in a statewide pre-apprenticeship offering!

We extend our most sincere thanks to:

Area III Plumbers JATC
Balanced Electric Inc.
Chambers Construction
Connected Lane County
Eugene Builders Exchange
Independent Electrical Contractors Oregon
Lane Education Service District
Lane Workforce Partnership
NAWIC Eugene Chapter #77
Opportunity Oregon
Oregon Employment Department
Pacific Northwest Carpenters Institute
Sheet Metal Institute
Springfield Chamber of Commerce
UA Local 290 College of Mechanical Systems & Technology
WorkSource Oregon Lane

Each of these organizations helped share information about Oregon Tradeswomen’s TAC Class with their networks and  community, and a sound reminder of how our collective efforts around a common goal can achieve great things, and that together, we are moving the construction industry into a bright future.

We can’t wait to see the Summer cohort of pre-apprentices develop into skilled tradesworkers who will be building across Oregon!

Executive Director Transition Update


Donna Hammond in front of the mural at Amalfi’s restaurant.

When Kelly Kupcak, Oregon Tradeswomen’s 2nd ever Executive Director, announced to our Board of Directors that she needed to return home to Ohio to be in closer proximity to her family and aging father, the Board rallied and worked with a consultant to determine the best next steps for the organization.

Now entering our 34th year as a nonprofit, Oregon Tradeswomen (OTW) is excited to share that a founding member, former Board of Directors Treasurer, and tradeswoman pioneer, Donna Hammond, has stepped in to serve as Interim Executive Director.

Under Kelly’s leadership, Oregon Tradeswomen made strides to expand opportunities for Oregonians. Our organization was able to level-up and secure our own workshop to run our program in-house for the first time in our history.

Oregon Tradeswomen also began expanding state-wide to provide crucial career education to women and non-binary individuals living in rural communities. Oregon Tradeswomen now serves more BIPOC students than ever before, hand-in-hand with the implementation of the Helen Getchell Women of Color Fund to provide specific support to BIPOC tradeswomen+.

Almost all people served through our pre-apprenticeship program, the Trades and Apprenticeship Career Class, report having a low-income and are looking to leave poverty behind. Because of  Kelly’s leadership, we removed an additional barrier to attending our class class by providing all students with a $15/hr wage equivalency during training. In a groundbreaking move, Oregon Tradeswomen also successfully launched a direct-entry pipeline from our pre-apprenticeship training to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 48 and United Association Local 290 Plumbers, Steamfitters, HVAC/R, and Marine Pipefitters apprenticeship programs, supporting the high job-placement of our Trades and Apprenticeship Career Class graduates!

Over the past 6 years, Oregon Tradeswomen’s work has grown to encompass more advocacy efforts to improve the experiences of non-traditional tradesworkers on the jobsite. Oregon Tradeswomen made great efforts to increase retention of women in the trades through the implementation of a job-site culture change program called RISE Up– and is an affiliate trainer of this program. Today, more than 700 employees at 15 different organizations have already completed training and we are working with another 10 organizations to implement RISE Up on their job-sites.

This initiative strongly compliments the work done with the Safe From Hate Alliance and the Tradesworker Equity Council, engaging both industry partners and diverse tradesworkers to stand up against racism, sexism, and trans/homophobia in the industry.

Kelly’s leadership also made significant impacts in the legislative sphere as she engaged local, state, and federal policymakers to include funding for pre-apprenticeship programs and initiatives to increase racial and gender diversity and equity in the trades.

Oregon Tradeswomen’s founding Executive Director, Connie Ashbrook, reflected on the change, saying, “As the founder of Oregon Tradeswomen and longtime colleague of Kelly Kupcak, I am so proud and appreciative to see the growth and expansion of Oregon Tradeswomen that she has led over the last six years since I retired… I am excited to see what is next for Oregon Tradeswomen that will be made possible because of the work accomplished under her leadership.”

Connie Ashbrook (left) with Donna Hammond (right) in Washington DC

As Donna Hammond assumes leadership of OTW as it’s 3rd ever Executive Director, she shared, “It is an honor for me to serve as the Interim Executive Director. I’ll be working alongside some of the best, brightest, and most passionate individuals in the construction industry who share a commitment to pre-apprenticeships. My goal is to build upon Oregon Tradeswomen’s success while continuing to expand and support the pathways of competent applicants to meet tomorrow’s construction needs.”

Oregon Tradeswomen is fortunate to have Donna’s lived experience, long history with the organization, and commitment to this work and mission. Change is never easy, but passing the torch to Donna Hammond will surely build upon our organization’s strong foundation as we continue to serve women, non-binary, and trans individuals on their pathways to prosperity.

Remembering Aida


On February 27th, we lost a dear member of Oregon Tradeswomen’s community. Aida Aranda was a strong force, an inspiring person, and a growing leader.

As a 25-year member of LiUNA and Local 737, Aida knew firsthand how important construction careers are for individuals, families, and entire communities. She also knew that these careers were critical for women looking to build a better life. Aida was dedicated to mentoring women coming up in the trades while also working as a Dispatcher for LiUNA Local 296, Apprenticeship Coordinator for the Oregon Southern Idaho Laborers-Employers Training Trust (OSILETT), Market Representative for the Northwest Regional Organizing Coalition (NROC), and eventually as the Training Director of the OSILETT. Aida also served on Oregon Tradeswomen’s Board of Directors for many years and was heavily involved in our current laborers-focused pre-apprenticeship training in The Dalles. These are only a fraction of the many ways Aida was involved in the labor and tradeswoman movements.

Oregon Tradeswomen mourns this deep loss with her family, friends, and extended communities spanning from the Oregon and Southern Idaho Laborers Employers Training Trust to the Oregon AFL-CIO, where she was elected as an officer in December of 2022.

We encourage everyone who knew and loved Aida to embody her passion for defending worker’s rights and support women who are paving their way into the skilled trades. If you have any photos, videos, and/or memories of Aida, we encourage you to share them with her community online. To honor Aida’s legacy, you are invited to join her extended community at her celebration of life.

Celebration of Life for Aida Aranda

Saturday March 25th, 2023
11:00 am to 2:00 pm

Oregon & S. Idaho Laborers’ Training Center & Campus
17242 NE Sacramento St.
Portland, Oregon

To help the hosts plan accordingly, please complete the following RSVP by March 22, 2023.


For those wishing to send flowers, please send to:

OR & S. Idaho Laborers Training Trust
17242 NE Sacramento St.
Portland, OR 97230

For those who would like to contribute a donation in honor of Aida,

Please make checks payable to the “Aida Aranda Benevolence Fund” and mail to:

OR & S. Idaho District Council of Laborers
17230 NE Sacramento St., Suite 201
Portland OR 97230

Victory Against Discrimination!

At the beginning of 2021, Oregon Tradeswomen, alongside Pride at Work and the American Federation of Teachers, represented by Democracy Forward, the National Women’s Law Center, and Albies & Stark LCC, filed a legal challenge against the Department of Labor (DOL) and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP).

In this legal challenge, the parties argued that a Trump-era “Religious Exemption Rule” was unlawful and harmful.  The rule allowed federal contractors to discriminate against women, LGBTQ+ people, and other employees on the basis of religious belief was issued in the last days of the Trump presidency. For Oregon Tradeswomen and our allies, this sanctioned discrimination had to be challenged

With the transition of power from the Trump administrations, the Biden Administration quickly proposed a draft decree rescinding the rule later in 2021. Our coalition submitted a comment in support of the rescission, expounding on the harm that the Trump-era rule created for workers. Following the action taken by our coalition, the DOL rescinded the rule.

We applause the Biden Administration and Department of Labor for their deliberate action against this discriminatory rule. Allowing discrimination on any basis emboldens and protects bigots to discriminate freely without consequence. Thanks to the Biden Administration, a clear message was sent that the federal government does not condone discrimination.



Thick Skin: Field Notes from a Sister in the Brotherhood

With still relatively few women working in the skilled trades, we are always excited to hear about new media representing the experiences of tradeswomen.

We are excited to share a new publication from Canadian tradeswoman Hilary Peach, detailing her two decades as a transient welder in the Boilermakers Union! The book, Thick Skin: Field Notes from a Sister in the Brotherhood, is a collection of Hilary’s journal entries, notes, and observations from her time working in shipyards, pulp mills, power-stations, and other traditionally male worksites across the North American continent.

Hilary’s stories take you on a journey through the lens of being the only woman welder on a job-site. Her mastery of the written word paints a beautiful picture of the dichotomy between the challenging nature of her work and the rewarding feelings of a job well done. Hilary confronts the blatant sexism and discrimination in the industry with humor, lending levity to tough topics that are still too common in the tradeswoman experience.

The British Columbia Review describes Thick Skin as “a vital memoir and, as poet Kate Braid reveals in her preface, it’s also a ‘love story.’ Hilary Peach takes the reader into a rarely seen world and we leave with new knowledge and respect, her style sparking as brightly as a welder’s torch, seaming disparate pieces of the universe together.”

Canadian poet Kate Braid says of the memoir, “This is a wonderful book – not just funny but a rare, insider’s look at the life of a travelling welder – the good, the bad, the ugly, and always, the fascinating.  A collection of hilarious stories by a master (mistress?) of repartee, it is also an homage to the trade she loved.”

The New York Labor History Association, Inc. thanks Hilary for “making women look good out there and for paving the way for more women to enter this industry.”

You can purchase Thick Skin: Field Notes from a Sister in the Brotherhood directly from Small Press Distribution, a non-profit literary book distributer, or on Amazon!

UPDATE (7/12/2023): Join Oregon Tradeswomen at 454 SE 187th Ave, Portland, OR, on August 10th at 6:00 pm for a book reading and Q&A with the author!
RSVP and Join the Event on Facebook!

2023 Women in Construction Week

Women in Construction Week is an annual event started by The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) in 1998 to honor women in the construction industry and promote the opportunities for women in this industry. This year Women in Construction Week falls on March 5 – March 11, making this the 25th year of celebrating women in construction!

This year’s theme is “Many Paths, One Mission,” focusing on the different journeys women have taken toward the goal of strengthening and amplifying the success of women in the construction industry. Join NAWIC, unions, construction firms of all sizes, and organizations like Oregon Tradeswomen in participating in Women in Construction Week events and show support for tradeswomen online!

Women in Construction Week Events

Saturday, March 4:
Women in Construction Week Kick-Off

Monday, March 6:
DE&I Panel: Hot Topic Discussion with Leading Women in Construction

Tuesday, March 7:
Walsh Construction Job Site Tour

Wednesday, March 8 (International Women’s Day):
NAWIC + Dovetail Trunk Show
UA290 + PMCA Women in Construction Week Top Golf Event

Thursday, March 9:
Establish Balance & Avoid Burnout Webinar
Night With NAWIC

Friday, March 10:
Women in Construction Week Build Day @ Habitat for Humanity
Zoom Wine Tasting with Pairings

Saturday, March 11:
Women in Construction Week Toast & ReCap

The 2022 Tradeswomen Build Nations Conference

The largest gathering of tradeswomen in the world recently reconvened in Las Vegas for the 2022 Tradeswomen Build Nations (TWBN) conference! The 2022 event was the biggest one yet with more than 3,000 tradeswomen and allies attending.

The conference officially kicked off Saturday, October 29th with a Plenary session hosted by Vicki O’Leary, Chair of NABTU’s Women’s Committee, and Erica Stewart, National Coordinator of Women in Trades Initiatives for the Boilermakers. They invited notable speakers from the Presidents of the Las Vegas Raiders and the AFL-CIO, to United States Secretaries of Labor and Commerce, Marty Walsh and Gina Raimondo. There was also a special surprise seeing Oregon Tradeswomen graduate, and union electrician with IBEW Local 48, Kennitha Wade introduce one of the speakers. Hearing so many high-level change-makers come together in passionate support of the tradeswomen movement was exhilarating. Each speaker shared about their background and how it connects them to our cause on a personal level. It was an important reminder that we are not alone in this work—the fight for the advancement of women in construction is turning heads and attracting attention far beyond our local communities. With buy-in from our leaders, lasting change is within reach.

With vibrant energy emanating from the Paris Las Vegas Convention Center, thousands of tradeswomen banded together by trade for the fan-favorite tradeswomen banner parade. Working their way through the casino and out into the streets, heads turned as women in construction chanted and cheered in exuberant joy. We wondered how many of these bystanders have ever seen or thought about the prospect of women as trades-workers. Some folks pulled out their phones to record, some joined in cheering on the tradeswomen, all were struck by the energy that radiated from the parade. Carol Murray, Training Coordinator for Oregon Tradeswomen exclaimed, “Seeing our OTW graduates with their locals and walking in the banner parade with their respective trades was SPECTACULAR!!!  Their energy was palpable and contagious!”

After demonstrating the power of the tradeswomen movement across the Las Vegas Strip, attendees self-selected into workshops that ranged from “Developing Tradeswomen Affinity Groups Within Your Local,” to “Childcare Strategies That Work for Tradeswomen,” and even “How to be a Male Ally in the Union Construction Industry.” The conference offered engaging workshops for everyone.

The day ended with Caucus meetings by trade and even included a meeting for researchers and non-profit organizaitons. Oregon Tradeswomen staff attended the “Researchers and Non-Profit Caucus” where people from organizations across North America came together to share data and best-practices to better serve women in the trades. Being an organization in such a niche movement can make it hard to find other people doing the same work, so having this space to hear what is and isn’t working for others is incredibly valuable as we continue serving tradeswomen in our community. “Meeting and collaborating with other pre-apprenticeship programs with the goal of adapting and growing in today’s ever-changing landscape was invaluable,” Carol added.

On Sunday, conference attendees heard from more prominent speakers such as Wendy Chun-Hoon, Director of the Department of Labor Women’s Bureau, and Timothy J Driscoll, President of the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, re-iterating their commitment tradeswomen. The morning plenary session ended with a panel on the retention and recruitment of women in the trades, an always-important discussion as more women than ever are interested in construction careers, but many leave due to harassment, childcare issues, and other issues on the jobsite. Important discussions continued in the next block of workshops where topics included “Women in Union Leadership,” “Protecting Workers’ Mental and Physical Health and Safety,” and “How to Address Bullying, Harassment, and Intimidation.”

Following the Sunday workshop session, Oregon Tradeswomen graduates and other Portland tradesworkers in the Tradesworker Equity Council (TEC) presented at the Tradeswomen Task Force’s Policy Forum. About 120 people attended, ranging from trades-workers to policy-makers, and seemed captivated by the experiences shared by the TEC. Union officials Scott Oldham from IUPAT in Portland and Charles Greer, Pittsburgh SMART Organizer, shared that this was the best workshop they attended the whole conference, and that they learned so much from the vulnerability of the TEC.

This was a first-time Tradeswomen Build Nations experience for most of the Oregon Tradeswomen staff who attended the conference. “The conference reminded me that I’m not alone, and our organization isn’t alone,” Pathways Training Coordinator Kate Hibbs shared. “Hearing that we’re only 3% of the industry nationwide feels so small, and we can feel so small in the field, but being in a group of over 3,000 at this conference, plus thinking of the other 300,000 women and gender minorities out there—we can’t be erased, we won’t be erased! We want to be in the trades and we are doing what we can so that anyone can be here if they want to.” This idea that we can’t and won’t be erased is a driving factor for the spirit that this conference embodies. It is a constant battle, but we are pushing forward into a better future together. We can’t wait to see how much progress can happen by the time we gather again in 2023.

A Labor Day Reflection


Here at Oregon Tradeswomen, we want to take a brief pause in our busy days to acknowledge workers and worker rights as we celebrate Labor Day. The first half of this year saw an increase in the number of workplaces unionizing, with workers across all sectors demanding to have safer workplaces, benefits, fair pay, and a voice in their work. Starbucks, Amazon, and Google workers all voted to unionize across the nation this past year. A huge win for the Labor Movement, and a huge win for workers.

These efforts are resonating with the broader public – according to a recent Gallup poll, 68% percent of Americans approve of labor unions — the highest rate since 71% in 1965. Perhaps it is an outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic, which prompted workers to rethink their work, their lives, and their relationship with employers. Health and safety was front and center for essential workers, and that included the construction industry and tradesworkers. Here in Oregon, the Building and Construction Trades Unions, AGC, and the Oregon Health Authority worked hard to keep them safe throughout these last few years of a frightening global health issue.

Here in Oregon, our community and industry partners are also working hard to keep tradesworkers safe through a regional effort to change jobsite culture – creating safe and respectful jobsites, free from harassment, hazing, and bullying –  for all workers. The Safe from Hate Alliance includes many voices across our industry, including the voices of tradesworkers themselves.

Oregon Tradeswomen would like to thank our partners, and all who have fought and continue to fight for our nation’s workforce, to ensure worker safety, dignity, and justice. We are with you in the fight today, and always, as today we honor our nation’s workers!


Kelly Kupcak, Executive Director
Oregon Tradeswomen