‘You can make a really comfortable living; you don’t have to have a college degree’
By SHERI GASSAWAY
Roofers Local 2 Journeywoman Cid Osborne spent her first five years in the roofing business working for a non-union company in Indiana. By the time she was 22, she knew she needed a change.
“I just got fed up with not making any money and not going anywhere,” she said. “I knew my body wouldn’t be able to take that kind of work my whole life and was blessed and smart enough to realize at that age that I needed a pension and health insurance.”
Osborne did her research and learned about the benefits of joining a union. The subcontractor she worked for at the time offered carpentry and roofing services so she could have chosen either trade.
JOINING THE ROOFERS UNION
“I decided to join the roofer’s union because I honestly loved the work and wanted to ensure I would be able to work outside,” she said. “With carpentry, working outside is not always a guarantee.”
Two years ago, Osborne moved to St. Louis to work on roofing at the Barnes Jewish Hospital project and joined Roofers Local 2. Today, she is one of only four female members of the union – a statistic she is hoping to change.
Osborne, 28, was recently appointed as an advocate for women, working to recruit and retain women for Local 2 by attending career fairs and participating in other projects.
She attended the February Missouri Women in Trades support group meeting and shared the positive experience she’s had as a union member with other women considering joining the building trades.
‘MAKE A REALLY COMFORTABLE LIVING’
“It’s empowering to do this kind of work,” Osbourne said. “After about three years of going through your apprenticeship, you can make a really comfortable living and have decent health insurance and a pension, and you don’t have to have a college degree.”
Osborne currently works for Kirberg Company, a commercial and residential roofing firm. She is the only female roofer at the company.
“I get a lot of respect from my co-workers because of how hard I work,” she said. “I show up every day, I have a good attitude and deliver great craftsmanship so the company works me a lot.”
ROOFERS LOCAL 2 APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAM
For more information on the Roofers Local 2 apprenticeship program, visit stlouisunionroofing.com or call 314-535-9863.