Insulators Local 1’s Ashley Cougill wins national tradeswomen award

ASHLEY COUGILL, an Insulators Local 1 journeyman, has received a Tradeswoman Hero award from the North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU).

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Ashley Cougill, an Insulators Local 1 journeyman, has been honored with a Tradeswoman Hero award from the North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU).

The second-generation Insulator currently serves as an executive board member for Local 1. She’s also head of the Women’s Committee for the Midwest States Conference. She has also served as trustee for Local 1.

“I’m nominating her because of her continued dedication to Local 1, Organized Labor and the advancement of women’s rights in the construction industry,” said Mike Ferguson, a Midwest international Insulators organizer. “I believe that she is a model union member and an inspiration to women who work in the building trades.”

Cougill, who’s been an Insulator for nearly 15 years, went to college and afterward worked in the insurance industry. She was looking for a career where she didn’t have to work two jobs to be able to survive.

Her father Mark Selby, a 50-plus year Insulator, suggested looking into joining his union. She also had encouragement to join the union from her uncle Pat Dolan, former Sprinklerfitters Local 268 business manager.

“Organized Labor has continually opened doors and provided opportunities for the Middle Class to survive in St. Louis for generations,” she said. “Many of the sisters and brothers I work with are second-, third-, and fourth generation Insulators. Union Labor is the new ‘family business,’ and we always take care of our family.”

Cougill said she is a huge advocate of women’s reproductive, fertility and maternity rights.

“Having a child should never have a negative effect on your livelihood,” she said. “Trade unions throughput the country and especially here in St. Louis take care of their members and make it possible for women to have a successful career and a family.”

Cougill added that mental health is a very prevalent concern in the building trades.

“I am proud to be part of an organization (the Insulators) that is so vigilant and proactive on mental health,” she said.

Cougill said she was honored and humbled to receive the NABTU award.

“It’s a very exciting moment for me to be recognized at the national level,” she said.

Cougill recommends to other women considering careers in the building trades to never give up and urges women currently in the trades to get involved with their union.

“I heard someone say ‘If you can’t see it, you can’t be it,’” she said. “That has really stuck with me through the years, especially being a women.”

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