Local 19 proud of first female Shop Foreman
History was made in the summer of 2017 when Sister Renee Cahill was named Shop Foreman
for Bonland Industries in Bensalem, PA. She is the first woman to hold that position in Local 19’s
130-year-old history. Renee has been a member of Local 19 for 17 years and is a second-
generation member with plenty of family in our local including her father, uncle, two brothers,
a cousin, husband and two step sons. For her, Local 19 is both figuratively and literally family.
When asked what made her want to join the Local, Renee replied: “There were several reasons
really. I was a bit of a tomboy growing up. I never minded getting my hands dirty or hard work.
Knowing the money and benefits were good and that I didn't see college as an option, I felt this
was the best choice for me and my future.”
She served her apprenticeship at Ernest D. Menold before reaching the rank of Journeyperson.
When asked what advice she has for other women who are starting out in the trade, she said:
“Just work your tail off and you have to realize that this isn’t going to be easy. It’s very
important to get yourself into the proper frame of mind to succeed in this trade. Like with
anything, you’re going to have your ups and downs, but stick with it and never give up on
yourself or the trade.”
“I was a leasing agent for an apartment building before I started this work,” she said, “so I never
had done anything like this before my apprenticeship, like weekend handbills. And when you’re
a single mom like I was at the time, it can get really tough, but you work through it and you do
what needs to be done to complete your schooling and work.”
According to President Masino, “Local 19 is making a concerted effort to recruit more female
members and provide them with opportunities that union membership offers. The last
apprentice class alone brought five women into the union and we welcome them as sisters in
Sister Cahill is certainly a Local 19 success story and we are very proud of the work she
continues to do in her role as shop foreman for Bondland. According to Shop Steward Rob
Mawson, she is great to work with, never acts as though she’s above anyone, and makes
everyone feel like they are together for a common goal. And that is what being part of a union
is all about, working together to achieve great things for each other.