Professor Robert Vaughan
December 13, 2015
On December 13, 2015, I had interview Alison Han, 46, about her work as a union pipe fitter at Plumber and Pipefitters Local Union 495. I was very intrigued by her line of work, but I could never see myself being a hard laborer as she is. I’ve always been a customer service kind of person myself. Alison is not much different from I. We are both white and women; they only difference is our age and line of work.
Alison has been a pipe fitter since 2001 (14 years) and usually works 2 separate shifts, 7am - 5:30pm or 6pm - 4am. Alison also stated, “Sometimes we work more than 10 hours, but hardly ever less.” She also states, “No day is ever the same.” Her typical work day consists of a safety meeting first thing and then everyone splits into their crews. They work in power plants and even build new gas plants. Alison states as well that as a pipe fitter, you must travel to your work whether it’d be local or out of state. The out of state pipe fitters are called, “Travelers”.
Alison chose this job to go against the norm. A pipe fitter is a dominant male trade, but there are a few female who can handle the heavy work and one of them is Alison. Alison likes being a pipe fitter because she gets to learn new things every day and not one day ever gets old. She says, “To build something from the ground up still amazes me…I know that I helped to accomplish something.” Though being a pipe fitter has its perks for Alison, she does agree that the work is heavy and demanding. There is a lot of math, evaluating blueprints, welding, cutting, grinding, and much more that comes with this line of work. “Safety is STRICTLY enforced,” Alison emphasized.
According to Alison, there is a gender barrier that happens in her line of work. Because Alison is a woman, she hasn’t been accepted many times. Many think women do not belong in her line of work and they give her and the other women attitudes. But, she does...