PGTI: The Policy Group on Tradeswomen’s Issues is completing it’s 13th year. This year we published a book chapter on our founding and how our multi-stakeholder collaboration was able to triple the percent of women in the trades in Massachusetts. Read the story of how we did this together at Policy Group on Tradeswomen’s Issues: A Collaborative Learning Community Crushing the Barriers to Women’s Careers in the Construction Trade. You can purchase the book, Organizing for Power- Building a Twenty-First -Century Labor Movement in Boston, here. Our brother at the Massachusetts Building Trades Council, Dan McNulty, added to our story with a paper he researched and wrote. Local tradeswomen leaders tell their stories of how the movement has been built in A Recent History of the Massachusetts Union Tradeswomen Movement V2.
We have reached many milestones in this past year including the increase in women in apprenticeship to 10.3%. And the absolute number of women in the trades in Massachusetts went up during the pandemic, a trend which undercuts the historic problem of women being laid off first.
Also during the pandemic, the number of women interested in the trades and attending Build A Life That Works’ Tradeswomen Tuesdays never dropped off. We now have over 800 qualified and interested women in the Build A Life pipeline to apprenticeship and work in the trades. This is consistent with reports that there are more women working in the trades than there were before COVID.
In addition to multi-stakeholder collaboration, PGTI’s success is built on the Integrated Supply and Demand Strategy which means that women get jobs. On our Targeted Projects, PGTI partners closely monitor to ensure that the numbers of women meet or exceed project targets and that women stay employed to gain the hours and the skills needed to stay in the industry. Massachusetts tradeswomen have worked on over $7 billion of targeted projects over the past decade and their percentage of the work hours is almost 8%, higher than the federal mandate and way higher than the national average. To ensure that even more women are getting work in the trades in the future, this year we launched PGTI’s Workforce Diversity in Public Construction Initiative. Working with the Attorney General’s Office and the Office of the Inspector General, public builders all over the state are being made aware of the requirement for 6.9% women’s hours on all public construction in Massachusetts.
One of the most important developments in the past year has been the growth of BUTS, Boston Union Trades Sisters. With over 500 women on their Facebook page and dozens of women attending regular event, BUTS is providing tradeswomen with the support to survive apprenticeship and thrive in the industry. They are making the connections to the sisters, nieces, school friends and more that will continue to grow the pipeline for women in Massachusetts.
The PGTI meeting schedule is still every other month and rotating between the 10 am start time that is easier for us girls in the offices and 4pm start that makes it possible for the tradeswomen coming off site at the end of the day to participate. The day of the month has recently changed to accommodate conflicts with some union meetings.
PGTI now meets every other month on the second Wednesday. Here is the 2022 schedule:
February 9, 10 – noon August 10, 4 – 6pm
April 13, 4 – 6pm October 12, 10 – noon
June 8, 10 – noon December 14, 4 – 6pm
Please join us. We still start our meeting with the mantra we created 13 years ago.
We are in this together
There is no silver bullet
We will never never give up