Providing Research and Technical Assistance to Union Construction Partners on Recruiting and Retaining Tradeswomen
We have been working with our stakeholder partners for the past year to update Finishing the Job: Best Practices for Diverse Workforce in the Construction Industry. We are happy to announce that version 8 is complete and ready for your use. It is always available on the PGTI site under the Best Practices pulldown menu. You can also access it here: Finishing the Job Best Practices v.8 Oct 2018.
We would like to give a special thanks to our reviewers who added their own experience and edits to the document. Thanks to Lori Corsi, Maggie Drouineaud, Samantha Glatfelter, Jill Lacey Griffin, Jill Houser, Margarita Polanco, Liz Skidmore, Danielle Skilling and Mary Vogel.
Our goal now is to see these Best Practices integrated and operationalized at all stakeholder levels. Critical areas that drive change are JATCs, union apprentice programs, that are increasing the number of women being admitted into apprenticeship and contractors that are hiring more women and placing them on core crews where employment is steady and hands-on training is consistent.
The proof of the impact of these strategies is in the increasing number of women in the trades. Our gold standard for measuring progress is the quarterly reports on women in Registered apprenticeship. As shown in the chart below, the number of women in union apprenticeship has increased by 141 in 2018. The percentage of women is now at 8.37%, almost three times the national average. Way to go, Massachusetts!
This chart and a list of all union apprentice programs in Massachusetts with their participation by women and people of color is available for download here: Q3 2018 Current demographics of women and people of color: v 2 Current demographics of women and minority participants in Registered Apprenticeship Programs in Massachusetts
Ona quarterly basis, PGTI receives data from the state Division of Apprenticeship Standards (DAS) on the demographics of apprentices in all Registered Apprenticeship Programs (RAPs). In addition to making public the rates of participation by women and people of color, we track progress on women’s participation in apprenticeship in both the union and non-union sectors. The following chart displays the current (Quarter 2) data effective on July 1 of this year.
We also track progress in the 28 joint labor management apprentice training programs, commonly referred to a JATCs. Below is the current data for those programs ranked from highest to lowest in participation by women.
For questions or comments on this data, contact PGTI at firstname.lastname@example.org or, if you follow our blog, you can comment directly on the page.
The Northeast Center for Women’s Equity (NCTE) has been conducting Tradeswomen Tuesday info sessions since last fall. The sessions happen on the first Tuesday of the month at 5 PM at 2201 Washington St in Boston and bi-monthly on the second Tuesday at Springfield Technical Community College. Hundreds of women have attended sessions to find out how to get into a union apprenticeship program. Now NCTE has added an online webinar for women who are not able to make the in-person sessions. PGTI’s Susan Moir was joined by Laborer and Local 223 Executive Board member Jenaya Nelson and carpenter Joan Bennett of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters. Check it out below and for more information on the pipeline to good jobs in the construction trades for women go to Build A Life That Works .
Study finds more than 9% women in the Springfield area are qualified and able to work in the construction trades. Read the study here.
The Boston Employment Commission (BEC), under the leadership of Director Karilyn Crockett and Chair Travis Watson, has done a great job of stepping up enforcement of the City’s goals. For ongoing projects, the goals are 10% women, 25% people of color and 50% residents. As of last January, Boston’s goals for new projects are 12% women, 40% people of color and 51% residents.
Among the issues raised at today’s monthly meeting:
- Some contractors continue to conflate their contracts with Women-owned Business Enterprises (WBEs) and the number of tradeswomen on their projects. As we showed in our study of 6 million women’s work hours on Boston’s Big Dig, WBEs actually hire women at lower rates than contractors across the board. We think this makes sense. As long as construction is a male-dominated industry, women business owners cannot risk being painted as a “women company.” Not fair, but the real world. The Big Dig study is available here.
- We have seen the best and the worst here today. Turner Construction is hitting 9% women’s hours and 37% people of color and 36% Boston residents on Harvard’s $400 million Science and Engineering Complex in Allston. PGTI took the opportunity to point out that Turner is a leader in the region because company leaders– and especially Maureen Kirkpatrick and Allison Stanton– have participated in and supported PGTI, Building Pathways and our sister efforts since our beginnings 10 year ago. They have ensured that our best practices, “Finishing the Job,” are integrated into Turner’s business practices. Proof that the best practices work. The worst today was BC Construction Co. A $4 million job in the middle of neighborhoods of color has 0% women, 6% people of color and 10% Boston residents. The excuses were comical and tragic. “We are trying.” “It’s a small job.” “We shuffle around our one minority worker.” (Really said that and then backtracked.) Commissioner Travis Watson pointed out that there are 526 carpenters and laborers in the Boston Jobs Bank database and there is no excuse for this level of failure. It was suggested that BC Construction might want to stay out of Boston in the future.
- The most outrageous event of the meeting was the contention– in writing — by New England Foundation Co. (NEFCO) that “Given the rugged nature of our work, the only position that can be safely performed by women is the oiler.” Unfortunately, NEFCO was not in the room. We madetwo suggestions. First, we asked that the owner of the project, Boston College, and the BEC write to NEFCO and appraise them of their disappointment in the claim that women cannot do the work. Second, we asked the BEC to review their use of the job category “oiler.” The trade is archaic and largely non-existent. One concern is that the category may be a used to add women and people of color to a site without real work and training.
- The Commissioners concluded the meeting with the discussion of further steps in compliance and implementation of sanctions. PGTI continues to raise concerns about the poor numbers for women across all projects. While women’s work hours have increased and more than half of those hours are being worked by women of color, progress is not being made in the percentage of women’s hours across all City-monitored projects. Check out the data below which indicates that women are getting half as many hours as men. We have requested that the BEC run its own analysis to confirm or contradict these apparent findings.