1 min read

Season 5, Episode 64

Persistence the key to success for female LIUNA member and influencer



Guest Name:

Chelsea Fenton

Guest Website:


Guest Social Media:






A labor steward and Executive Board Recording Secretary with LIUNA Local 596 in Massachusetts, Chelsea Fenton, joined the America’s Work Force Union Podcast as we continue our coverage of Women’s History Month. Fenton talked about her journey to the union, her growth in the Local and how she’s established a network for tradeswomen in Western Massachusetts along with a large following on social media.

Fenton has been with LIUNA as a member of Local 596 in Holyoke, Mass., for the past 12 years. Before that, she was working three jobs while attending school and was looking for a good-paying career with great benefits. Her father, an International Union of Operating Engineers member, brought her the answer in the form of a business card for the Business Manager of Local 596 at the time, Tommy Andrews. She took the chance and applied on the first application day at the local, but she was denied. She tried a second time and was denied again. Finally, on the third attempt, she was accepted, and Fenton explained how she had convinced the Local to bring her into the program.

Her first job with the union was on asphalt in the middle of summer. She talked about the hot days and hard work, but how rewarding it was to receive her first check and again once the project was done. Her hard work helped her grow in the Local, and she quickly became a labor steward and executive board Recording Secretary for Local 596. Since then, she has become a mentor to women joining the Local and other union building trades in her area.

Her mentoring took on a new form when she helped form a grassroots network for women in construction called Western Mass. Tradeswomen. The network helps connect women to Tradeswomen in different building trades because there aren’t many women in each union. Together, they help support each other and build camaraderie among women on the tools. She also uses her social media profiles @thatunionlaborer on TikTok and Instagram to reach out to more women looking for a career with great pay and benefits. With over 17,000 followers — 70 percent of which are women— on the two social media platforms and videos reaching more than 900,000 views, she showcases how unions can utilize the free marketing tools and extend their reach to more potential members.

Learn more about Fenton by listening to the show above, then follow her on social media.

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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