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Lashaunta Santos says she knew she didn’t want to do the “college thing” but instead wanted to pursue a good-paying career in the trades. When she was a teenager, she helped her godfather doing some residential work around Boston. Her uncle Charles (Reggie) Pulley is a member of the Carpenters union and was quick to notice her ability and competence when it came to working with her hands.
“When I was 18 and fresh out of high school I joined the union and it’s the best decision I ever made,” said Lashaunta.
Now a 16-year member of Local 327, Lashaunta says she wouldn’t change a thing. She loves her trade so much that she even got a tattoo to mark her 10-year anniversary in the Carpenters union.
“It was something that I wanted for a while. I wanted to literally stamp my dedication and commitment to my trade and to my union on my arm.”
Lashaunta got the tattoo on the inside of her right forearm because she wanted it to be on show.
“I have lots of other tattoos that are hidden but this one I knew I wanted everyone to see because I’m proud of what I do every day and what I represent: a sisterhood and a brotherhood. This tattoo is loud and proud” she smiled.
The tattoo itself has the UBC emblem with the Interstate 93 and the Boston skyline in there, and of course – a female carpenter.
Lashaunta is currently working at the Boston Arts Academy for Sweeney Drywall and said “I’m kinda known as the drywall sister – it’s my thing! I’ve only ever worked for Sweeney (Drywall) and Save-on-Wall throughout my 16-year career. When I walked on the jobsite at Boston Arts, Damian Bell from Sweeney Drywall said to me ‘Hey Lashaunta, welcome home!’ It’s things like that make the job better every day. We really are one big family.”
Lashaunta is also active in the Sisters in the Brotherhood chapter in Boston and credits fellow Local 327 sister Keisha Campbell for pushing her to get involved. “Keisha is the steward on the job and SIB chair so she’s like the mother of everything!” she smiled.
Just last week, Lashaunta volunteered to work on a project at Vets Inc. in Worchester mentoring Build It! carpentry pre-apprentices.
“I’m definitely big on helping people and my community. Any knowledge that I can pass on to apprentices or pre-apprentices, I’m all for that.”
Laushaunta’s advice to anyone starting out in the trade is “put your best foot forward every single day because at the end of the day and at the end of the project, you turn around for the rest of your life proudly saying ‘yeah I playing a big part in building that!’”