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Lily Thompson

Local 336 member, Lily Thompson, recently marked a career milestone: 20 years in the union. Thompson, who has been active in the union since joining in 2003, has steadily worked her way up through the ranks from apprentice to journey-level, steward [Mount Holyoke College project}, foreman [UMass Amherst Family Housing project] and now is the superintendent for Suffolk on the 330,000 sq ft. new Fieldstone Student Housing at UMass Amherst which is on time and on schedule to be open for the incoming Fall semester.

“It’s an intense schedule but come hell or high water the students will be here soon, and it will be ready to go,” says Thompson.

From a young age, Lily liked working with her hands and seeing the end results. She went to Franklin County Technical School for carpentry and has been on their Student Advisory Board for more than 10 years.

After high school, she worked non-union for a few years before joining the union allowing her to receive stronger benefits and pay. From the get-go, Lily was a determined riser in the construction industry and in 2017 was elected Local 108 (now Local 336) Steward of the Year.

After two decades in the union, Lily is a strong advocate for encouraging young adults to consider a career in the skilled trades. Although she makes it clear that construction work or the industry is not always easy, there is a “golden opportunity” for prospective members to consider joining now “as the industry experiences a skilled labor shortage along with a generational gap.”

“You can make really really good money, and get great healthcare for you and your family, and retirement benefits, too. Carpentry is a viable field, AND is a viable option for women,” she added.

“When I joined the union, I was the only woman carpenter on the job site,” but remarks that things are trending in the right direction. “The cultural mind shift has been trending very positive, and it’s great to see more and more women coming in and joining the union, and on the job sites.”

Lily’s advice?

“Show up, be teachable, and soak it all in. Remember attitude is everything on the jobsite and in the classroom. Everything you do is on your own merit.”

A Buckland native, Lily is now living in the hill towns region of Western Mass with her husband, who is a mechanic, and their two kids. She jokes that her kids say that their mom gets up in the middle of the night to go to work, adding proudly that their dad can fix anything, and their mom can build anything!