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Conductor with Ironworkers Local 396 in St. Louis, Aurora Bihler, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to discuss her life as a journeyman in the Ironworkers Union. Bihler also talked about the importance of diversity in the trades and her work with the BUD program in St. Louis

Bihler admitted she originally planned to be an artist after  after earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Sculpture degree. After working on an archaeological site after college, she took the leap to apply for the Ironworkers Pre-Apprenticeship program. She was accepted, and shared details about the transition into union life and some of the difficulties she experienced. She has been a member of the Local since 2013 as a journeyman and was one of two women to become the first female representatives at Local 396.

It’s incredibly important for trades to have a diverse group of members. Each time a member of the trades goes out into the community, they set a standard. As non-union workers see someone like them in the trades, they become more willing to learn about the different trades. Each time Bihler discusses her job and work, she uses it to educate the person on the trades and the importance of the work. She believes she serves as an example that anyone can join the trades if they have the right mentality.

Bihler serves as a representative and instructor for the Building Union Diversity (BUD) program in St. Louis. She uses her experience in the trades to educate the pre-apprenticeship classes and prepare them for a future in the trades. There are a lot of projects and money flowing into the St. Louis area, and with the growing number of retirees, the work being done by the BUD program is setting up the future of union workers in St. Louis. Bihler discussed how well the trades, particularly Local 396, in the St. Louis area, retain and support women and minorities in the union. 

To learn more about Bihler and her experience as an Iron Worker, play the show above.


America’s Work Force is the only daily labor podcast in the US and has been on the air since 1993, supplying listeners with useful, relevant input into their daily lives through fact-finding features, in-depth interviews, informative news segments and practical consumer reports. America’s Work Force is committed to providing an accessible venue in which America's workers and their families can hear discussion on important, relevant topics such as employment, healthcare, legislative action, labor-management relations, corporate practices, finances, local and national politics, consumer reports and labor issues.

America’s Work Force Union Podcast is brought to you in part by our sponsors: AFL-CIO, American Federation of Government Employees, American Federation of Musicians Local 4, American Alliance for Manufacturing, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Columbus/Central Ohio Building and Construction Trades Council, Communication Workers of America, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers, International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers Local 50, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Crafts, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 6, Ironworkers Great Lakes District Council, The Labor Citizen newspaper, Laborers International Union of The National Labor Office of Blue Cross and Blue Shield, North America, North Coast Area Labor Federation, Ohio Federation of Teachers, Survey and Ballot Systems, United Labor Agency, United Steelworkers.

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