Amsterdam News| June 2, 2022| Author: Taji Riley
As a Black woman, union carpenter Taji Riley is committed to uplifting her fellow Black brothers and sisters in construction. Union carpenters and contractors have taken bold action to create a culture of diversity and inclusivity. Thanks to this progress, the NYC carpenters union is a place where members like Taji feel welcome and represent the diverse communities throughout New York.
Union carpenters and contractors have a simple goal – to provide hardworking New Yorkers in the construction industry with safe jobs and quality benefits that result in healthy futures for themselves and their families. Creating these opportunities helps people achieve their American Dream. That’s why union carpenters and contractors are driven to create pathways to success for historically underrepresented groups in the city.
Being a member of the New York City District Council of Carpenters for the past 7 years has changed Taji’s life for the better. She’s built a set of skills that will help her thrive throughout the rest of her career. As a young Black woman without a college degree, being in the union has given her the tools necessary to move towards financial freedom and support her entire family. With the union behind her throughout her journey, Taji has gained the strength and ability to take steps toward closing the Wage Gap that continues to exist for many Black women and men in this city and across the country.
Taji wants other women to have the opportunities that she’s had. That’s why she’s taken on a leadership role as Recording Secretary on the Sisters in the Brotherhood Women’s Committee. Through this position, she mentors other young women to build successful careers in the trade.
The union has uplifted Taji, allowing her to become the very best version of herself. This experience is not unique to her. Thousands of New Yorkers, especially in communities of color, have built pathways to economic stability thanks to union carpenters and contractors.
Taji has seen first-hand the value of creating a diverse workforce, where workers feel respected on and off the job site. Prioritizing diversity and inclusion allows union carpenters and contractors to build the most highly skilled workforce possible. When they all work together as union brothers and sisters, they tackle challenges as a team, enabling them to build the state-of-the-art infrastructure that New York needs.
Union carpenters and contractors go the extra mile by offering apprenticeship programs and classes to ensure that no matter your background, you have a chance to prosper. For example, through the Building Works program, the District Council serves residents from low-income communities to ensure that unionized opportunities in carpentry are available across the city.
Today, Taji is fortunate to say that she belongs to a union strong family that celebrates its members and their differences. She encourages all women and communities of color to consider joining a union – no matter the trade – as the industry creates a pathway to a rewarding career.