When Shannon Rotz enrolled in Minneapolis Business College to get her diploma in office administration, she never imagined that her skillset, tenacity and work ethic would have guided her to a career surrounding construction and skilled trade work.
Shannon graduated from her program and two weeks later her daughter was born. She took some time off as she adjusted to motherhood, but six months later, Shannon was ready to put her education to use. Using job placement assistance through the college Shannon accepted a temporary position with Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local 1 MN/ND, knowing very little about the union world.
BAC Local 1 MN/ND, along with the training center, union hall and international masonry institute quickly reaped the benefits of working with Shannon. Her temporary role turned permanent, which meant she automatically became a member of the Office and Professional Employees International Union Local 12. In addition to handling her daily responsibilities of keeping tabs of membership and apprentice records, tracking training hours, handling office phone calls and so much in between, Shannon identified the need for some updates.
Just as trades workers have a commitment to quality standards; Shannon identified the need for a higher-quality experience for members. After teaching herself how to code HTML, Shannon began website design for the BAC Union Hall and Training Center. Information that was once only available by mail was now at the tip of public and members’ fingers. Shannon transferred hard copy forms to digital files, guiding the local union and its members towards use of an online system. Shannon’s work simplified the administrative processes and incorporated efficiencies in a way that helped the entire organization work smarter.
“There was so much opportunity to streamline and update our processes,” said Shannon. “If an apprentice needs to submit their time cards and should be getting a raise, they need to know about it immediately by email or text – not snail mail. That’s the world we live in.”
About a year ago, with BAC Training Center’s system up and running, Shannon took her talents to help The Cement Masons, Plasterers & Shophands Local 633 Training Center – the union responsible for concrete construction, plastering and blockmaking – updating and digitizing their union administration practices.
“I love the work I do, mostly because of the people I interact with. I see apprentices come in without knowing a thing. Throughout their apprenticeship they acquire so much knowledge and really grow up. They are the future of the building trades and watching that wheel go full circle is amazing!” said Shannon.
Beyond the work Shannon does for the building trade unions, at the end of the day, she is a proud member of her own union of administrative professionals. As a union steward on behalf of Office and Professional Employees International Union Local 12 Building Trades Group, Shannon is the liaison between members and management, and looks forward to continuing to expand her leadership role within the organization.
“There are so many union jobs that aren’t construction and I had no idea about any of them,” said Shannon. “Between the great wage, benefits and job security I have provided for a family of five. I encourage everyone to research unions and join if they can.” Shannon mentioned that anyone interested can visit OPEIU Local 12’s website for more information on union worksites.
When Shannon accepted her diploma 13 years ago with a baby on the way, she couldn’t have predicted that her work would turn out to be such a meaningful part of her life. But her willingness to find ways to grow in her own career while upholding the same quality standards that are expected of the private sector building and construction union members she serves every day has driven Shannon’s success and will continue to do so throughout her career.