Month: September 2012

ALARM!! ALERT!!! . . . or, (yawn, shrug) Oh, well . . .

—by Susan Eisenberg

No one expects people trapped in a crashed car to extricate themselves. Others rush to help. Or call for trained rescuers. The 2.3% of women in construction trades could use a hand, too!

There’s bold honesty in the 2010 IBEW Women’s Conference Caucus Report that applies across the building trades and similar occupations:
“Women experience real discrimination every day, including enduring hostile work environments, unequal work assignments, and/or lack of career advancement so it should come as no surprise that discrimination is one of the primary reasons why women abandon their career and the IBEW.”

Aren’t construction workers as smart and resourceful as architects and engineers? And as capable of change?

Discrimination directly threatens an individual’s finances and safety and sometimes their life. But the ripple of harm from each incident extends much farther. Affecting their family, friends, community, co-workers, union.

When an equipment failure or human error puts lives at stake –– an aircraft, a power plant, an oil spill –– common sense says DON’T IGNORE IT. Figure out what went wrong. And then fix or replace –– not just that one, but any like it. Prevention is always the best strategy.

So why do the same stories of discrimination and violence repeat in the construction industry over 34 years? Why no national alarm or prevention system?

On Labor Day, let’s remind ourselves: human rights and labor movement success are inseparable.