North America's Building Trade Unions ( NABTU ) and Chicago Women in Trades ( CWIT ) will bring together more than 1,300 women, representing multiple crafts in the building and construction trades, for the Women Build Nations ( WBN ) conference in Chicago. The event takes place at the Crowne Plaza O'Hare Conference Center, Rosemont, Illinois.
The conference offers attendees more than 35 workshops and plenary sessions facilitated by tradeswomen, featuring union leaders, apprenticeship coordinators, contractors and elected officials. "I have long fought to protect the rights of women, including full and equal economic opportunity through equitable pay and employment opportunities. I am honored to carry this message and commitment to the 2016 Women Build Nations conference," said Jan Schakowsky, U.S. Representative for Illinois' 9th Congressional district. Congresswoman Schakowsky will give the keynote welcome address during the opening plenary session at the WBN conference on Saturday, April 30, at 8:45 a.m.
The third annual pre-conference, "Recruiting and Retaining Women in the Trades Institute", takes place on Friday, April 29, from 9 am - 5 pm. This session provides employers, registered apprenticeship programs, workforce practitioners and other industry stakeholders an opportunity to learn from a variety of successful models and network with peers from around the country.
"Although the percentage of women who work in the trades remains far too low, when we join together in sisterhood and solidarity, we become a force for change," said Patti Edwards Devlin, Federation Liaison to the President of the Laborers International Union of North America ( LiUNA ).
Local activities throughout the conference include the unveiling of local artist Tene Smith's vibrant and empowering mural, highlighting Chicago's diverse tradeswomen, during the Chicago Women in Trades open house reception on Thursday, April 28, from 6-9 p.m. Attendees will sightsee Chicago's diverse city neighborhoods during the Chicago Women & Labor History tour, led by the Illinois Labor History Society on Friday, April 29. On Sunday, May 1, conference attendees will participate in the International Workers' Day march from Haymarket Square to Daley Plaza. The May Day march recognizes and honors the workers and activists who lost their lives fighting for the right to an 8-hour workday.
"This action packed weekend reminds tradeswomen that they are an important segment of a strong and vibrant movement, energizing and inspiriting them to continue the fight for economic equity at home. We are thrilled to bring this opportunity to Illinois tradeswomen and tradeswomen across the country," said Jayne Vellinga, Executive Director of Chicago Women in Trades.
About Chicago Women in Trades
Founded in 1981, Chicago Women in Trades ( CWIT ) works for women's economic equity by increasing participation in well-paid, skilled jobs traditionally held by men and by eliminating barriers that prohibit women from entering and succeeding in these fields. CWIT provides educational training, support and advocacy to women.