IR Erica Stewart, National Coordinator of Women in the Trades Initiatives, M.O.R.E. Work Investment Fund, represented Boilermakers and tradeswomen nationwide at NABTU’s annual legislative conference April 4-6 in Washington, D.C.
Stewart, who is a member of NABTU’s Tradeswomen Build Nations Committee, was among a handful of tradeswomen selected to serve as a special honor guard to interact with and escort the event’s featured speakers. Speakers included U.S. President Joe Biden, AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler, U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and several members of Congress.
“This is the first time the tradeswomen have been invited to participate, to be acknowledged and to be a part of the conference. We have a long way to go, but we’re making history,” Stewart says, noting that the group escorted every speaker, with the exception of President Biden.
“It was overwhelming, and I was proud to be involved, representing tradeswomen and the Boilermakers union.”
Highlights for Stewart were meeting Stacy Abrams, who is a candidate for governor of Georgia, and interacting with President Shuler.
“I was impressed with Stacy Abrams and her family story,” says Stewart, who learned from Abrams that her father worked at Ingalls Shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi, where Stewart was a welder and is a member of L-693.
“And President Shuler was, as always, inspiring in her passion for labor, infrastructure and making sure working class people have good paying, safe jobs and can provide for their families.”
NABTU is North America’s Building Trades Union, and the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers is a NABTU affiliate.