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From Pharmacy Technician to Union Roofer

RCS Pharmacy Technician to Union Roofer
July 28, 2019 at 6:00 a.m.

By Lauren White.

Monique Cooper’s unique journey to finding her calling in roofing. 

Walking around in work boots and primer stained jeans, Monique Cooper has come a long way from being a pharmacy technician.  As mentioned in The Journeyman Roofer magazine, she had a difficult time starting her career in the pharmacy industry even after all of her schooling.  Needing a change and a better life for her and her five children, she looked into becoming a roofing apprentice after asking for guidance from her fiancé, a union roofer.  Skeptical but determined, she has found a great career for herself stating, “‘I feel better altogether— now I’m really part of something.’”

As an apprentice with Roofers Local 33 in Boston, Massachusetts, Cooper’s story and journey have been an inspiration to many women, including her 23-year-old daughter.  “Women ask me how to get into this trade all the time. I tell them it’s a great opportunity, as long as you work hard and show up on time.” Female roofers are unique in the union building trades, but Cooper is respected by her coworkers whether they have worked with a female roofer before or not.  She is excited more women are on job sites and encourages women to try roofing. “I explain that the union makes it easy to get a start in this trade.”

Being part of a union has had numerous benefits for Cooper personally and professionally.  “Roofing is one of the most dangerous jobs in the construction industry,” The Journeyman Roofer wrote.  The union stands by her no matter what the circumstances and has provided her with safety training, good health insurance, and fair compensation for the demanding work.  Her income allowed her to pay off $6,000 in student debt in one payment, buy a dependable car, and pay her bills without worrying. Now she can focus on the future, spend more time with her family, and enjoy dinners and movies out.  When her apprenticeship concludes with-in the next year, her pay will more than double.

Giving back has always been a part of Cooper’s identity and is something she continues to do with her new career.  “She has volunteered with anti-violence groups in Dorchester, and with a homegrown modeling agency that holds runway shows promoting local designers and models” wrote The Journeyman Roofer.  Presently, she is working on a new elementary school in Needham installing a roof that will keep the students safe.

After a winding road, Monique Cooper has found her calling in roofing.  “If you told me in my twenties that I’d be in the building trades, I wouldn’t have believed you,” Cooper said.  With the support of her union, she is able to take care of the necessities, has more time with her family, and is still able to contribute to the community.  Monique explains, “...I thought it would be much harder, but it’s an easy fit. You never know until you try.”

Get more news and articles like this one in your inbox every week when you sign up for the RCS Week-in-Review enewsletter. 

All photos courtesy of Journeyman Roofer .



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