1 min read

Season 5, Episode 126

How the union is making a difference with Jackie Townsend of BAC ADC 1



Guest Name:

Jackie Townsend

Guest Website:

Bricklayers Union 


Guest Social Media:





Supportive Documents:

Jackie Townsend, a member of the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Administrative District Council 1 of Illinois (ADC 1) and bricklaying instructor with Paul Simon Job Corps, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast to talk about finding herself in the trowel trades and how the union has positively impacted her life. She also talked about the way that the BAC has helped her carve out a sense of belonging and what she’s doing to provide that to other people.

Townsend has been a member of the Bricklayers for the past 19 years, she joined after attending the Chicago Women in Trades Technical Opportunities Program. She talked about her knowledge of the trades when she entered the program and how she found herself pursuing a career with the BAC. It’s been a life-changing experience, she said, as her only expectation was to get a better job. Instead, it’s improved her life in several ways she never thought possible. Townsend explained how her career with the union has improved both her physical and financial health.

After her time as an apprentice, Townsend spent the next 11 years as a journeywoman with Iwanski Masonry. She talked about her experience as the only woman on the job site and how her first foreman helped build her passion for education with the union. She eventually became the lead instructor for the Chicago Women in Trades Technical Opportunities Program, the same pre-apprenticeship program that taught her about a career with the BAC. Townsend eventually doubled down on introducing people to a career with the Bricklayers with the Paul Simon Job Corps in Chicago.

It wasn’t an easy transition for Townsend on certain job sites. As a black female and member of the LGBTQ+ community, she explained how the union card in her pocket helped create a place for her to belong. She talked about how the Bricklayers, and several of the trades, have helped ensure that workers are safe in the workplace no matter their personal, gender or race and are only judged by the quality of their work. Townsend talked about her personal experiences and how she uses them to bring more diverse and inclusive members into the trades. Finally, she discussed the programs that the BAC has implemented to help women stay in the trades by helping them take care of themselves and their families.

Listen to the show above to hear more about Townsend’s career with the Bricklayers.

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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