Wisconsin Building Trade Council Supports empowHER

WBTC Pledges $20,000 to Organization Promoting Women Leadership and Change in the Construction Industry

Kilah Engelke | President/Chair and founder of empowHER and Business Agent of Operative Plasterers and Cement Masons (OPCMIA) Local Union #599 in Milwaukee

Madison, Wisconsin (June 2021) – The Wisconsin Building Trades Council (WBTC) has pledged $20,000 to support the strategic plan of empowHER, a statewide organization that aims to enforce positive change for women in Wisconsin’s construction industry.

empowHER’s three-year strategic plan seeks to double women’s participation rate in the construction industry in Wisconsin from less than 3 percent to 6 percent, improve retention and help ensure that women are at all levels of leadership throughout the construction industry. Overall, the organization’s mission to be visible and to normalize the role of women in construction to support and retain women that are already in the industry to recruit more women into union construction careers at all levels

Jake Castanza, WBTC Executive Director presented the check to Kilah Engelke, President/Chair and founder of empowHER and Business Agent of Operative Plasterers and Cement Masons (OPCMIA) Local Union #599 in Milwaukee. In 2020, Engelke was recognized as a 2020 Tradeswomen Heroes Award and is a role model for women working in the construction industry. Kilah is also the Financial Secretary for the Milwaukee Building and Construction Trades Council.

“We are delighted to support empowHER’s efforts, says Castanza, WBTC Executive Director. “WBTC and our 40,000 hard-working members are fully committing to helping growing significantly women’s presence and skills in the building and trades industry.”

About WBTC

The Wisconsin Building Trades Council was founded in 2018 to carry on its member unions’ proud traditions, many of which have been working for workers’ rights for over 130 years. Today, the WBTC supports and furthers 17 different unions’ efforts in the building trades with 63 locals and over 40,000 members overall. All are working together to:

  • Pursue the highest level of performance and technical knowledge in their industries
  • Maintain a position as the preferred choice for commercial construction in the State
  • Create a steady stream of work for union member
  • Fight for The Prevailing Wage for union members
  • Ensure on-site compliance with safety and health regulations
  • Foster a workforce diverse in ethnicity and gender
  • Be transparent and accountable in all business relationships
  • Provide apprenticeship and professional growth opportunities for workers
  • Take a leading role in philanthropic and volunteer activities within the community
  • Take a proactive role in supporting pro-worker legislation for building trades unions.

Member Unions

  • Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers District Council of Wisconsin
  • International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers
  • International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail, and Transportation Workers Local 18 And Local 10
  • International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers And Helpers Union 107
  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
  • International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 200
  • International Union of Elevator Constructors
  • International Union of Operating Engineers Local 139
  • International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 7 & DC 82
  • Ironworkers District Council of North Central States
  • North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters
  • Operative Plasterers’ and Cement Masons’ Local 599
  • The Wisconsin Laborers’ District Council
  • The Wisconsin Pipe Trades Association
  • United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers, & Allied Workers