It takes people

Mary Linn Gil: Sparking generational change in NYC

New York’s new offshore wind industry is being built by union labor. Sunrise Wind is creating opportunities for women, people of color, and those from disadvantaged backgrounds – opportunities that can change lives for people like IBEW electrical apprentice Mary Linn.

I moved to NYC from Mexico when I was three. Twenty-six years later, I live in the Bronx with my mom, sister and six-year-old son Edward, who’s autistic. Growing up without documentation, life could have been a lot different. But being part of a union and working towards being an electrician has been life changing.
Worker with hard hat
Mary Linn Gil is a union-affiliated electrical apprentice living in the Bronx
My son Edward loves dinosaurs. They are it for him right now. So, we go to the American Museum of Natural History very often. We go to zoos, the science center, trampolining – every day is different. But it’s very tough being an apprentice and single mom.

That’s why my union, Local 3, has been so amazing. When I was younger, I didn’t know what a union meant. I just wanted to work. I didn’t know it would mean my family and I would get medical coverage. Now, not being scared about going to the doctor or getting the bill – that’s a big deal for me. Getting vacation, that’s also been life changing because I get to spend more time with my son. Not to mention being able to save for my retirement – and getting my college tuition paid for as part of my apprenticeship.

I do what I do to provide for myself and my family. It’s my union that’s given me the tools I need.

I got into Local 3 in 2019 after signing up for a program designed to help women enter the trades, which is where I decided to be an electrician. Being a woman in this field, sometimes it’s tough. Sometimes people on my job site look at me and don’t think I can do something, but then I do it and they’re like, wow. It’s made me more confident. It motivates me to do my best every day and make more space for other women to join me.

I do what I do to provide for myself and my family. I’m here to be strong for my son and to give him a voice when he needs support. It’s my union that’s given me the tools I need to build us a better future. So, I’m proud to be a union electrician.

Because we all need electricity. Electricity is what powers the city. Electricity is what powers the world. And I know building clean energy is going to provide thousands of jobs, and I know it’s going to better the environment. I don’t want to worry about my son’s future. I want what’s best for him and I know that with renewable energy, that’s possible.

Mary Linn Gil is an apprentice electrician for IBEW Local Union No.3 in New York City.

Watch Mary Linn’s story