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IUOE Statement in Celebration of Women in Construction Week

WASHINGTON, DC — The following statement was issued by James T. Callahan, General President of the International Union of Operating Engineers, to celebrate Women in Construction Week and honor the hardworking women of the IUOE:

March is Women’s History Month, and the International Union of Operating Engineers is especially proud to celebrate Women in Construction Week, March 7 to 13, 2021. Our union is made stronger every day by the contributions of the thousands of highly skilled tradeswomen within our hoisting and portable and stationary engineer ranks.

Before women in the United States fought for and won the right to vote, they were busy organizing unions. Many of these women were immigrants, poor and discriminated against. They worked long hours under dangerous conditions in textile mills and garment factory sweatshops, and they felt powerless on their own. But they did not give in. Instead, they stood together to fight exploitation, and win safer workplaces and better wages and conditions.

These twin struggles, fighting not just for their rights as workers, but also for their right to dignity as women, culminated in twenty-thousand tradeswomen taking to the streets for the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike, a landmark victory for all American workers. One year later, “Women’s Day” became an annual event in the United States to honor and commemorate this historic act of courage.

On behalf of the International Union of Operating Engineers, I wish our sister Operating Engineers, and all union tradeswomen, a happy and successful Women in Construction Week. I am awed and inspired by your unparalleled dedication to your craft, and your work to recruit, mentor, and train current and future Operating Engineers will only serve to expand and enhance the opportunities for women within the construction industry for generations to come. Thank you for all that you do each and every day in support of the IUOE and all of organized labor.

The International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) represents over 400,000 working people across the United States and Canada. Members of the IUOE are primarily operating engineers, who work as heavy equipment and crane operators, pipeliners, mechanics, and surveyors in the construction industry, and stationary engineers, who work in operations and maintenance in building and industrial complexes, as well as a number of job classifications in the petrochemical industry.

IUOE Statement on Women in Construction Week