Changing Construction Workplace Culture

Thank you for Your Commitment to Making Our Industry Safe From Hate!

Thank you to everyone who joined us for the first Safe From Hate Summit on Monday, October 3rd, 2022! The conversations that took place are moving our collective work to ensure all jobsites in our region and industry are safe and respectful for all workers, and freer from harassment, hazing, bullying, and retaliation. We hope you came away from the event with a renewed commitment to culture change as well as the knowledge to help you affect this much-needed change in our industry.

We are grateful to our keynote speakers, presenters, moderators, and panelists as they shared their personal experiences in the field and best and promising practices in changing jobsite culture. Thank you for being in this important work with us.

To view the full 2022 event program, please scroll down.

To learn more about the Safe from Hate Alliance work and meetings, please email Kelly Haines at: khaines@worksystems.org

Safe From Hate Resources:

RISE Up Worker Orientation Video - PDXNext

Safe from Hate Alliance Pledge

2022 Tradesworker Equity Council Recommendations to Industry

Respectful Workplace Review Committee Recommendations Report

8 Tips to Create Greater Belonging Handout - Bill Proudman


8:30 am - 9:00 am
Registration & Networking

9:00 am - 9:15 am
Overview & History of Safe from Hate Alliance
Pat Daniels, Executive Director, Constructing Hope and Kelly Kupcak, Executive Director, Oregon Tradeswomen

9:15 am - 10:00 am
Keynote Speaker: Bill Proudman, Founder and CEO, White Men as Full Diversity Partners

10:00 am – 10:15
Centering Worker Voices Grounding Message
Wendy Chun-Hoon, Director, Women’s Bureau, U.S. Department of Labor

10:15 am – 11:30 am
Screening of Sista in the Brotherhood & Tradesworker Panel: Lifting Up Tradesworker Voices
This panel discussion with members of the Tradesworker Equity Council will follow a screening of the 2015 film, Sista in the Brotherhood about a black tradeswoman who faces discrimination on a new job site and who must choose between making a stand or keeping her job. Sista in the Brotherhood has won multiple awards after screening at over 30 festivals around the country and now is being used as a training tool to help educate about the experience of working-class women.

In particular, the film addresses the issues of retention, workplace culture, micro aggressions, sexism, and racism, but also, much more. The film was directed by filmmaker Dawn Jones Redstone and produced by Dr. Roberta Hunte. The original script was inspired by Dr. Hunte's doctoral thesis and partially based on Jones Redstone's experience as a union carpenter and longtime trainer at Oregon Tradeswomen.

Listen in on this critical discussion with members of the Tradesworker Equity Council, a diverse panel of tradesworkers who will share their experiences in our industry and how policy moves from paper to practice – and when it doesn’t – the impact on their lives and careers.

Donna Hammond, Business Representative, IBEW Local 48
Nickeia Hunter, Culture Change Liaison, Oregon Tradeswomen

Mary Ann Adkins-Bahena, IUOE Local 701
Janett Arellano, UA Local 290
Leslie Cotton, UA Local 290
Miranda Jenniches, IUOE Local 701
Jelani McRae, IBEW Local 48
Alejandra Prado, UA Local 290

11:30 am – 12:15 pm
Lunch Break

12:15 pm – 1:15 pm
Safe from Hate Pillar #1: Zero Tolerance Policy

Breakout Session:
What Does Zero Tolerance Mean, and How Do Frontline Supervisors Effectively Implement One?
Does  your company have an effective jobsite policy that addresses workplace conflict, harassment, hazing, bullying and discrimination? Have you wondered how to deal with behaviors that don’t meet the definition of illegal, but are unacceptable? What about the complexities of being on a job with stewards, multiple employers, and union members? Join industry experts for a discussion on best and promising practices on this critical topic. Presenters have deep construction knowledge, as well as the legal and human resource knowledge specific to the construction industry. Join this discussion and learn more about model policies for the jobsite, and guidance on what “zero tolerance” and effective jobsite policies look like in action, as well as how to properly respond to incidents and issues on the jobsite.

Michael Burch, Retired, PNW Council of Carpenters, Oregon Tradeswomen Board of Directors

Nicolle Farup, CEO, Good Company HR
Mel Jones, Director of Inclusion, Hoffman Construction
Willy Meyers, Executive Secretary, Columbia-Pacific Building and Construction Trades Council

Breakout Session:
Public Owner Perspective – How Public Owners Promote Accountability in Compliance & Enforcement for Respectful Worksites
As the historic federal infrastructure investments work their way to states, Oregon will likely see billions of dollars in public contracting across our state. How can public owners ensure that public funds for building our roads, bridges, schools, and other infrastructure are done so with equity and respectful worksites at the center? What tools can public owners use to positively impact jobsite culture when they are often not present at the jobsites? Join this exciting panel discussion with public owners and learn more about how they are investing in respectful jobsite culture across our region and our state.

Reverend Dr. Matthew Hennessee

Anita Adams, Associate Manager Labor Equity Program, Purchasing and Contracting City of Seattle
Debra Lindsay, Workforce Program Specialist, Multnomah County
Kimberly Sutton, Small Business Development Program Manager, Port of Portland
Biko Taylor, Chief Procurement Officer, City of Portland

Breakout Session: 
Internal Policies and Practices – Shifting the Way We Change Industry Culture
What does “zero tolerance” really mean? Join the discussion as we hear from industry leaders who are making changes in the way industry holds itself accountable – whether on the jobsite, in a union, on as part of leadership. You’ll learn about what policies, practices, and changes are shifting jobsite culture and focusing on equity for all workers.

Rana Uzzaman, Director of Programs, Portland YouthBuilders

Aaron Barber-Strong, Business Representative, IBEW Local 48
Lou Christian, Business Manager, UA Local 290
Twauna Hennessee, Community Outreach Representative, Northwest Council of Carpenters
Scott Oldham, Business Representative, IUPAT Local 10

1:15 pm – 1:30 pm

1:30 pm – 2:30 pm
Safe from Hate Pillar #2: Implementing Positive Jobsite Culture Education

Breakout Session:
Implementing a Respectful Worksite Program: How to Make Change, Embed Equity on the Ground, & Change Jobsite Culture
It’s one thing to talk about changing jobsite culture in construction, but it’s quite quite another to actually do it! This panel will share the tools they are using on the job and in the field to address toxic culture and make change. Join the and learn how to move from the theoretical to the practical in making respectful workplaces a reality, and who will share those learnings with you so your jobsite can also be one free of harassment, hazing, and bullying.

Kelly Haines, Worksystems

Devanta Black, Operations Diversity Manager, Kiewit Infrastructure
Amy James Neel, Workforce and Contracting Equity Manager, Portland Community College
Justin Paterson, Project Director, Hoffman-Skanska Joint Venture
Sheldon Wormley, Representative, Laborers Local 737

Breakout Session:
Public Owner Perspective – Policies & Practices for Investing in Jobsite Culture Change
Public owners across the Portland Metro region have been a leading voice for critical change in our public projects around equity in contracting and workforce for years. Now they are working to invest in respectful worksites and jobsite culture change. Learn why they are committed with this dynamic panel of public owners.

Andre Baugh, Principal, Group AGB Ltd.

John Cardenas, Construction, Business, and Workforce Equity Project Manager, Prosper Portland
Aidan Gronauer, Civil Rights Compliance Manager, Interstate Bridge Replacement Program
Sebrina Owens-Wilson, Regional Impact Program Manager Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Metro
Liz Smith Currie, Senior Policy Advisor, Multnomah County

Breakout Session:
Policies and Practices – How Can Registered Apprenticeship Impact Jobsite Culture?
Oregon is leading the way in the conversation and work to change construction culture – not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because toxic jobsites have a significant impact on construction costs, management’s time, and worker retention. Join us to learn more about how the Oregon Plan is affecting apprentice retention, and whether or not it’s enough. You’ll hear from industry stakeholders working to make a difference and the learn more about the respectful workplace models they are using.

Dr. Irvin M Brown, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Coordinator, Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, Apprenticeship & Training Division

Aida Aranda, Training Director, Laborers
Katrina Cloud, Training Director, Northwest College of Construction
Dominic DePiero, Training Director, UA Local 290
Mike Hawes, Training Director, PNCI

2:30 pm – 2:45 pm

2:45 pm - 3:45 pm
Safe from Hate Pillar #3: Supporting and Recruiting Diverse Talent and Pillar #4: Cultivating Retention and Leadership

Breakout Session:
How Can Leadership Support Recruitment & Leadership Development
It’s not enough to just implement positive jobsite culture principles on our jobsites, our industry has to be intentional in recruiting diverse talent and supporting them to success. Join our discussion with industry leaders who will share how they are bringing diverse talent into their organizations and how they are working to keep them there.

Joe McFerrin, Executive Director, Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center

Kimberly Gamble, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Andersen Construction
Jeff Moreland, Managing Member, Raimore Construction
Maurice Rahming, Owner, O’Neill Construction
Afton Walsh, Project Manager, Walsh Construction

Breakout Session:
Public Owner Perspective – How Jobsite Culture Impacts Retention
We know that toxic worksites impact retention of skilled workers, but how can we collectively shift the paradigm so that we increase retention in the construction industry? Join this panel to learn about more about the about the disparate impact of attrition of women and BIPOC, outcomes of the current research in this arena, and what we can do about it.

Mark Brenner, Co-Director, Labor Education and Research Center, University of Oregon

Dr. Maura Kelly, Associate Professor, Portland State University
Dr. Anjali Rameshbabu, Center Manager Oregon Healthy Workforce Center at Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences
Larry Williams, MA Operations and Policy Analyst, BOLI Workforce Development Program Apprenticeship and Training Division

3:34 pm - 4:45 pm
Large Group Session:  Putting Policy to Work – Practical Tools for Implementing a Respectful Jobsite Culture Program
Reconvene as a community of practice to learn more about the available respectful workplace culture training programs and how they are actually being implemented on jobsites across our region. We will show a brief training video, highlight training curriculum content, and provide examples from Job Box Talks. We will also hear from an experienced practitioners and implementers to learn what’s working and what’s not on jobsites and how we can learn from one another to do better in the field.

Lauri Rollings, RISE Up Oregon Director and Principal, Lauri Rollings

Steve Malany, P&C Construction Company and First Vice President, Associated General Contractors

Devanta Black, Operations Diversity Manager, Kiewit Infrastructure
Josh Durham, Owner, Gamut Public Solutions, LLC
Amy James Neel, Workforce and Contracting Equity Manager, Portland Community College

4:45 pm - 5:00 pm
Closing Remarks and Call to Action


  1. […] the Oct. 3 event, speakers agreed culture change is still in its early stages. But unions including UA Local 290, […]