ILA Empowering Women – RTG Operators


The ILA is reaching great milestones as they recruit workers to complete ship-to-shore (STS) crane and RTG operator certification. Just this October, Samantha Piña became the first woman in the history of the ILA local 28 to be certified as an RTG operator.

“The program is rigorous. It requires nerves of steel, but most of all determination to complete it. Workers looking to move up the ranks must go through a vetting process and have accumulated hours of experience.” said Tim Harris, Executive Vice President of the ILA local 28.

Samantha Piña has been working in the ILA for seven years, and she waited three years to enroll in the program. “You need 2,000 hours of hands-on experience. I worked with heavy machinery, and on top loaded, heavy-lift, pencil, and empty yard jobs. I also had to complete a minimum of 250 hours of ‘on the seat’ training and take a written test to get to this point.”

More women have also enrolled and completed the program since, noting the impact of making a commitment to push forward. Chataria Biscoe has been working with the ILA local 28 for 17 years and originally came to the ILA with her father to work. After her father passed and the pandemic hit, she knew that she wanted more for her career. “I felt like everything finally fell into place once I started the RTG operator certification process. Although I was nervous and felt pressure at first, I was encouraged to keep going to pursue my dream,” she states. “Now I have a great sense of accomplishment and can be a role model for the next women.”

Tasha Williams also went through the certification process and felt overjoyed when she completed the rigorous test. She states, “I started as a truck driver eight years ago and didn’t think I would be where I am today. Putting in the long hours of work, ride-alongs, simulator trainings, and several weeks of monitored training has been worth it. Although this is a male-dominated field, I want to inspire the next generation of workers.”

Video debuted on Day 2 of the ILA’s South Atlantic and Gulf Coast District 92nd Convention on Tuesday, July 26, 2022 in Coronado, California.

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