Spring Hill, Tenn. — More than 60 union tradeswomen from 18 states and Canada came together for the first Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) All-Women Fishing Event outside downtown Las Vegas in conjunction with the 12th Annual Tradeswomen Build Nations Conference—the largest gathering of tradeswomen in the world.
“The women who attended this event are electrical workers, insulators, ironworkers, elevator constructors, painters, laborers, carpenters, cement masons, plumbers and pipefitters and millwrights, who are breaking barriers and paving the way for other women in the trades,” said USA Communications Manager Kate Nation, “so it seemed very fitting to bring them together through fishing and the outdoors, and hopefully inspire them to both pursue the sport and pass it on to other women and girls of all ages.”
Union volunteers from Plasterers’ and Cement Masons’ Local 797, Bricklayers Local 13 and Ironworkers Local 433, as well as professional angler and fishing guide Ashley Nichole Lewis, a member of the University of California Student Workers Union represented by Auto Workers Local 2865, attended to assist participants and share her expertise.
“This event was deeply meaningful because working in male-dominated fields—whether the construction trades or the fishing industry—can be isolating, and the opportunity to connect with other women builds much-needed community,” said Lewis, a member of the Quinault Indian Nation from western Washington. “The event was also diverse both in the fields of work the women represent as well as race, ethnicity, age and fishing experience. With such varied backgrounds, it only makes sense to connect through a shared interest in the outdoors.”
A 30-minute drive from the Vegas strip, Floyd Lamb Park, centered on a series of small lakes in the Mojave Desert, provided the women with a new perspective of the city and an opportunity to connect with union sisters from other trades.
“I haven’t been fishing since ’93—almost 30 years,” said Rita Neiderheiser, a member of UA Sprinklerfitters Local 669, “and it’s fun to be out here with my sisters just kicking back, no pressure, and enjoying myself.”
“We couldn’t be more pleased with how our first women’s fishing event turned out,” said USA CEO and Executive Director Walt Ingram. “We greatly appreciate the support we received from North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) to host the event during its Tradeswomen Build Nations Conference and all they did to help promote it. While women are always welcome and encouraged to attend all USA events, we recognize the value of women-focused events like this and hope to do more in the future.”
As the All-Women’s Fishing Event was wrapping up, volunteers from OPCMIA Local 797 gifted fishing poles to a mother and her two daughters who were visiting the park to celebrate Nevada Day. Lewis demonstrated how to bait their hooks and taught them to cast with their new poles, and they were soon practicing on their own. The remaining fishing poles used during the event will be donated by local union workers to other members of the Las Vegas community.
The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) is a union-dedicated, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose members hunt, fish, shoot and volunteer their skills for conservation. The USA is uniting the union community through conservation to preserve North America’s outdoor heritage. For more information, visit www.unionsportsmen.org or connect on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Work Boots on the Ground (WBG) is the USA’s flagship conservation program that brings together union members willing to volunteer their time and expertise to conservation projects that improve and enhance public access to the outdoors, conserve wildlife habitat, restore America’s parks and mentor youth in the outdoors. The USA’s Work Boots on the Ground program works closely with federal, state and local agencies and other conservation groups to provide manpower needed to complete critical projects that may otherwise go undone.