New York, NY — Local 7 is a Mega Local that was established by the merger of several individual BAC Allied Crafts into one autonomous unit. The stunning and artisan work at Museums, Schools, Libraries, Transportation Centers and Condominium Projects was probably completed by members of Local 7. Marble is the cutting, carving, drilling and setting of interior marble and/or stone at the job site.  Marble Restoration is the patching, restoration, cleaning and polishing of all marble, stone or similar material after installation is completed in the building. Tile is the cutting and setting of all tile where used for floors, walls, ceilings, walks, promenade roofs, exterior veneers, stair treads, stair risers, facings, hearths, fireplaces, and decorative inserts. Terrazzo is the installation of cement, epoxy, and seamless flooring, trowel down sand and quartz epoxy flooring and resinous flooring, on both horizontal & vertical surfaces.

25-year-old Gianna Schwarz, a first year Apprentice in the Local, shared with LaborPress some of her background, experiences, and what working in the Local means to her.

LP: Where did you grow up, and where do you live now?

GS: I grew up in Roselle Park, New Jersey and I currently live in that area.

LP: What year did you start your training program, what year are you in, and how many years long is the program?

GS: I started my pre-job classes in September 2023 and started my apprenticeship in January 2024. I am in my first year out of a five-year long apprenticeship.

LP: How many hours in total are required to complete the program? How many per week?

GS: It’s 7500+ hours to become a journeyman, with approximately 40-hour work weeks.

LP: What skills have you learned so far?

GS: How to set marble floors, set marble walls, set marble staircases, cut marble, set tile walls, set tile floors, cut tile, pre-float floors, self-leveling, waterproofing, grouting and sealing, gauged porcelain tile.

LP: How was your experience learning these new skills? Did you find it a challenge, or did it come to you relatively easily, or a combination, depending on a particular skill?

GS: I enjoyed learning these new skills whether it was a challenge or came to me easily. I found it to be a combination depending on the skill. For example, I found cutting marble to be challenging at first, but after a lot of practice and learning new techniques, I became more comfortable and really enjoyed it. I like to challenge myself to learn new skills whenever possible.

LP: Given the oftentimes artistic nature of your trade, and the projects created throughout the city, is there any aspect of your trade you’d like to focus on going forward? And did anything in particular that you’ve seen that was done by your Local inspire you?

GS: So far, on my job sites, I’ve spent the most time working on marble floors, so I am looking

forward to working on marble walls, columns, portals, and countertops in the future since I don’t

have as much field experience with those aspects of the trade. I have been able to work on

marble walls in my related training classes, so I am excited to apply those skills in the field. I’m

very inspired by the work done by Local 7. On my first job site, I was inspired by the marble

staircase the marble mechanic and finisher installed. It was my first time seeing and assisting in

the process of installing marble stairs and I was excited to learn everything I could about this

new skill.

LP: What outside job are you currently working on, and how many hours per week do you work? What type of work are you doing, and what exactly have you learned on the job? Any other past jobs that particularly excited you?

GS: Outside of my classes at the training center, I am currently working at the Waldorf Astoria in the residential lobby. I am working 40 hours a week. Right now, I am working on marble floors.

Most days, I help the marble mechanic with setting floors, other days I am helping with cutting

marble, grouting, cleaning, and sealing floors. I help with tasks like deliveries and moving

marble as well. I have learned a lot about setting floors using screed and I am really looking

forward to learning more about installing columns. Past jobs have helped me improve upon and

learn different skills such as grouting, waterproofing, setting marble with thinset, installing

marble staircases, and more. There’s always something new to learn on every jobsite. Learning

something new every day is one of my favorite parts of my work.

LP: Why did you choose to join this Local/career path?

GS: I chose to join this Local because I was inspired by my family members within the trade and I enjoy doing hands-on trades work. Marblework has a lot of creative and mechanical aspects that interest me and my family inspired me to pursue the trade.

LP: Can you tell us more about your union family members?

GS: My dad, my uncle, and my cousin have all worked in Local 7 and influenced me to pursue my apprenticeship. My family is very supportive of my apprenticeship and I appreciate all the

support and guidance they’ve given me throughout my apprenticeship. I applied to the union as a marble mechanic apprentice and completed the pre-job classes before starting my apprenticeship. I was able to cross train in marble and tile during my pre-job classes before starting my first jobsite.

LP: How has your experience been as a woman working in a trade that is dominated by men? Do you feel you’ve been treated equally, or are there things you’d like to see change?

GS: My experience as a woman working in marble has been great. I have been supported really well by my family, union brothers and sisters, mentors, and instructors, and I am really thankful to have a strong support system. If I had to see anything change, it would be to see more women

who are interested in marble work take the opportunity to pursue an apprenticeship.

LP: Why do you think you were chosen for this award by your training director?

GS: I think I was chosen for this award because I take every opportunity I can to learn more and

improve my skills. No matter what task I am faced with, I give it my all, and I do everything I

can to support my union. I am very thankful to be chosen for this award and to have the

opportunity to talk about my experiences as a marble mechanic apprentice in Local 7.

Gianna Schwarz


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