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B.C. Women Go to Seattle for the 2018 Women Build Nations Conference

Some female Local 1598 and Local 1907 members, along with other women from various sectors of the trades in British Columbia, went to Seattle on October 12 to attend the 2018 Women Build Nations Conference. After the event, Local 1907 member and chair of the B.C. chapter of Sisters in the Brotherhood, Julie Sawatsky, wrote the BCRCC a very kind and thoughtful thank-you letter, which also describes the event:

Last week I had the honour of attending the Women Build Nations Conference in Seattle, Washington, with five of my sisters. The support you have shown our Sisters in the Brotherhood Committee has been fantastic. We all boarded the Building Trades bus and our journey began! This year there were over 2200 attendees from every trade worldwide. I’m proud to say that B.C. alone tripled last year’s number of Canadian carpenters participating.

Along with several members from the BC Building Trades – Build Together, I presented a workshop entitled ‘Building a Movement.’ Our message was to highlight our achievements and demonstrate how starting a women’s committee and getting involved in our communities, unions, and government can create more women leaders. This is the next step after recruiting; as the focus of many of the plenary talks was retention and moving up. Furthermore, there was a recognition of the pioneers and the next-generation apprentices.

Without your solid commitment to the sisters, we would not be where we are, rising up, and throwing down the ladder for the next ones behind us. Please accept my sincere gratitude for the Council’s support and respect shown to all the Sisters in the Brotherhood.


Julie Sawatsky

Sisters in the Brotherhood, BC Chair

B.C. Sisters in the Brotherhood contingent at the 2018 Women Build Nations Conference in Seattle, October 2018.

An Evening with Theresa King

Local 1907 members Kristine Byers and Kelley Jeong, and Mark Derton, BCRCC President, were in attendance for an Evening with Theresa King on October 16, 2018. Theresa shared her journey on becoming the first woman president of the Florida Building and Construction Trades. Thank you to Build Together, IUOE Local 115, IBEW 213, and BC Building Trades for hosting this event.

SIB Conference at the ITC

Some photos from the Sisters in the Brotherhood Conference (SIB) at the International Training Center (ITC) in Las Vegas August 27 & 28, 2018, including photos of a lunch that the SIB Committee had with the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Canadian Minister of Status of Women.

B.C. Centre for Women in the Trades Launch Event

Jordan Kersch, BCRCC representative, Julie Sawatsky, Sisters in the Brotherhood chair for the BC/Yukon region, and the Honourable Melanie Mark, minister of advanced education, skills, and training, at the launch event for the B.C. Centre for Women in the Trades (BCCWITT) on June 28, 2018.

BCCWITT is working to eliminate the barriers faced by women in the trades by building a network committed to creating a culture of equality and equal opportunity. BCCWITT aims to increase the retention and advancement of women in the trades through targeted supports and programs.

The centre will support the retention and advancement of tradeswomen by addressing three key pillars:

  • Outreach and mentorship;
  • Shifting the culture through ‘Be More Than a Bystander’ training for men in construction, and;
  • Building workforce diversity by assisting unions and employers to strengthen their organizational capacity to support women.

Jordan Kersch, Julie Sawatsky, and Local 1907 member Kristine Byers.

Local 1907 member Kristine Byers awarded Doug Urquhart Humanitarian Award

June 9, 2018. Local 1907 Recording Secretary Julie Sawatsky presenting the Doug Urquhart Humanitarian Award to Sister Kristine Byers. The award is handed out every year to a 1907 member who unselfishly contributes to the community and helps raise public awareness of our union. Kristine was recognized for her work with Habitat for Humanity and for her participation with Build TogetHER, helping with repairs for the WISH Centre, a Downtown Eastside women’s shelter.

Doug Urquhart was a long-time member of the Carpenters’ Union in Metro Vancouver. He worked as an organizer and business representative for the Local and went on to become a national representative for the United Brotherhood of Carpenters. Doug is fondly remembered for his commitment to the betterment of the Union through his volunteering and community activism. The award in his name was established by the Local in 2015, after his passing. It ensures that his spirit of helping others in need is recognized and will be carried on.

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