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Women at Work: By Dovetail Workwear

tradeswoman outside wearing ppe

Featuring Dovetail Workwear’s Women at Work series. Dovetail Workwear’s mission is to encourage women to enter and succeed in non-traditional occupations. We envision the future as all women fulfilling their personal potential, thriving in their work, and strengthening their communities.


Union Laborer Business Rep, Liuna Local 737

What does a day in your work life look like?

I am a union business Representative for LiUNA 737 in Portland, Oregon. We have about 3000 members statewide. I tour job sites that our members work on. I make sure the membership is being treated fairly. And, that our scope of work is being done by our membership. If there is an issue between a member and the contractor, I act as a middle person to solve the issue. The issue can be anything from work site safety, payroll issues, or discrimination.

What made you start doing the amazing things that you do?

I worked in the field for 8 years. I wanted to step up and do more for my union. So in 2018 I came out of the field and became an organizer for my union. I did that until January 2020. January 2020 I began to work for my Local union, where I am able to give back and help improve the working environment of the membership.

Did you complete any training? If not, how did you learn your trade/skill?

I graduated Oregon Tradeswomen Pre-Apprenticeship as well as my union apprenticeship.

What do you want people to know about being a woman in your field?

If you are thinking about going in the trades do it! You can do anything you put your mind to. And if you have any doubts reach out. I’ll be your cheerleader.

What are you great at, and what do you suck at?

That’s a tough one. I’d say multi tasking and problem solving. What I suck at is time management. I want to do everything for everyone.

What are the top five things that are always in your pockets? 

I always have a knife, pen, keys, business cards, and stickers.

What are you doing when you’re not working hard?

I’m at my sons’ sports events or practice.

How do you encourage other women to start doing what you do? 

I talk to Oregon Tradeswomen and other pre-apprenticeship programs. I speak to re-entry programs. I try to go to all job and school job fairs.

tradeswoman working on construction site

Who’s a role model who helped you in your journey to where you are?

Aida Aranda was the first woman I met in my trade. She was the apprentice coordinator when I joined the union. I watched her become a regional organizer and then the director of our Training center. I saw a woman of color advance within my organization and become a leader. That inspired me to do the same. It made me believe that women are truly empowered in LiUNA. It wasn’t just a catchy sticker. We worked together on job fairs. Looking at her and her career, I knew I could do anything in my union.

If you could give your 20-year-old-self advice, what would it be?

Join the union apprenticeship! I joined when I was 32. I wish I would have joined sooner.

tradeswoman wearing ppe on a construction site

Do you have any special projects or cool things you want people to check out?

What does workwear designed for women mean to you?

Having proper fitting work wear is huge. Men’s clothes can fit us, but they are not built for my body. Most men don’t have hips and bums. So the men’s clothes don’t fit right. You have to buy bigger sizes that don’t fit well. Men’s crotch area is different and can be too big/long so, making the pants uncomfortable or, in some cases, unsafe. Also, most women’s pants, the pockets are a joke. That is why I Love Dovetail! They fit my body AND they have functional pockets.

What did you want to be when you were growing up, or a little kid?

Funny as it sounds I wanted to be a lawyer and a construction worker. I wanted to change the world as well as build it. And in a sense I am doing just that. But with no school debt.

What do you have to sacrifice to be good at what you do?

I had to work long hours and do lots of different things. Not all the dispatches I have done in my career have been fun. Or very clean.  But every dispatch I went out on benefitted my career and family. So I don’t really see it as a sacrifice. I have been able to make a family-wage job. Buy a home, and put all 3 of kids in high school and/or club sports, which is crazy expensive.

What scares you?

Mmm I hate public speaking. I have to do it a lot, you’d think I’d be comfortable doing it by now. But nope.

Tell us something surprising about you.

When I say I have been in the union for 13 years people seem to be surprised and ask how old I am, lol. Or people seem to be surprised I’m 3rd generation Union Laborer.

Are there any organizations/nonprofits you work with that you think we should know about?

Rebuild Washington County is a great nonprofit. But of course all of the pre apprentice programs you (Dovetail) are already involved with.

Tell us something dirty.

The dirtiest job I ever worked has to be; when I worked in a 60 inch sewer line. I was on a crew that relined an existing sewer line. It was more efficient if we relined them, as opposed to taking them out and redoing them. Because the sewer line was in the middle of a very busy section in the city. And tearing up the roads was not really an option.

Photos by Sheldon Sabbatini

Article by Dovetail Workwear

Check out this article and others like it in our Empowering Women in Industry Digital Magazine.

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1 Comment

I love my dovetail pants... They fit just right and are my go to for travels and tradeshows!

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