Building and Wood
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Speaking in front of over 500 women in the building trades in the United States, Justina Jonas, Branch Organizer for the Metal Allied Namibian Workers Union of BWI affiliate in Namibia stated, “From the first moment I stepped into the ball room I knew I was in the right place. I could feel the energy, excitement, and commitment that permeated throughout the room. As I sat down and began to talk to the many women I realized that the experiences and challenges faced by women working in the trades here in the United States are not any different than those of women in my country, Namibia or other places in the world.”
Justina Jonas along with Sandy Cijntje, Board Members of SEBI of Curacao were part of the international delegation joining women members of BWI affiliates in the United States----Iron Workers, Sheet Metal Workers, Teamsters, and the LIUNA.
The two day conference which took place from May 19 to 20 in Sacramento, California was the 2nd National Tradeswomen’s Conference but the 11th California Tradeswomen’s Conference, as California State Building and Construction Trade Unions had been the core convener of bringing women in the building trades together to network and exchange to strengthen their positions at the work place and their unions.
This year’s conference consisted of a series of plenaries and workshops covering issues such as Unions 101, Women’s Committee and Mentoring, Social Networking and Using New Media, Leadership 101, Applying for Apprenticeship 101and Politics 2012: Getting out the Vote.
The presence of the Justina Jonas and Sandy Cijntje was whole heartedly welcomed by the conference participants, the majority of them skilled women in the various trades in the construction industry, as this was the first time an international delegation was present at the conference. It also enabled the women delegates to have an opportunity to share their experiences as trade unionists and as tradeswomen.