The 17th Biennial Coalition of Labor Union Women Convention is taking place November 13-16 in Reno, Nevada.
From their website...
The women's movement and the labor movement are facing some of the biggest challenges in our history, with battles on every front. This is our opportunity to engage those in the labor movement and our friends who are not part of the labor movement and to learn how we can Move the Working Women's Agenda Forward.
This convention is about working together to set new goals and frame our objectives from the founding principles that guide the work of our organization. Progress is made possible by networking, sharing information and developing ideas to form new programs and policies.
To participate in the convention with voice and vote you need to be a regular national CLUW. Find out more about CLUW and their convention here.
The IBT's annual women's conference opens on Thursday, Sept. 19 and goes through Saturday, Sept. 21. The conference will be in New Orleans at the Hilton Riverside.
The IBT will release more information on hotel reservations and registration soon.
Contact your Local Union about sponsoring your trip.
If you are going and interested in meeting other members of TDU send us a message and we'll put you in touch.
Download a "Save the Date" leaflet here.
Texas Woman Awarded $600,000 for UPS Discrimination: Why Didn't The Grievance Procedure Get her Job Back?
Jurors hugged an Odessa woman who sued UPS for gender discrimination after two days of testimony that included lewd phrases directed at her.
Amber Ibarra claimed she was fired from UPS after being harassed because of her gender, and won $600,000 in a federal civil trial this week.
She now works for FedEx.
Ibarra worked with the Odessa UPS package center from June 1996 until July 2009 and said in a federal lawsuit that her supervisors and coworkers made offensive comments and discriminated against her because she was a woman, leading up to her firing.
Brian Carney, one of Ibarra’s attorneys along with Holly Williams, said in an interview that she worked her way up to be the only full-time woman driver at the facility, while fellow drivers made disparaging remarks about women being inferior to men.
“During that period, they had this kind of environment there where they made derogatory remarks about women,” he said. “She performed the job. No one had a complaint from UPS about how she did her job. No matter how they tried to run her off, she did what they asked her to do.”
Specifically, according to the federal complaint, Ibarra was routinely expected to make more deliveries than the male drivers and was ordered to deliver six 100-pound packages while pregnant that her manager “saved” for her.
It was when Ibarra was involved in an accident on June 23, 2009, when her vehicle struck a utility pole that her performance was scrutinized and she was ultimately fired, according to the complaint.
No one attempted to see whether the truck was drivable, according to the complaint, and several other drivers had been in accidents worse than hers but had not been fired, including several accidents involving fatalities.
Carney said the attorneys for UPS first said the appeals process out of the Midland/Odessa area did not reinstate her in defense of the dismissal.
The next defense, Carney said, was that the accident was the cause for her firing. Finally, he said, UPS attorneys argued that had they not fired her for the accident, they would have dismissed her for taking her personnel file without permission.
“It provides some closure and some vindication to what she’s been doing for the last four years,” Carney said.
The judge can still award Ibarra money she would have earned continuing to work at the business, Carney said, but has not yet made a ruling on that issue.
After the trial, Carney said jurors asked Judge Harry Lee Hudspeth if they could hug Ibarra.
The judge allowed them to after they were dismissed, Carney said, and all but one juror spoke with and hugged Ibarra after the trial.
Attorneys for UPS did not return a call for comment Thursday afternoon.
January 11, 2013: In the early 1900s workers in the textile mills of Lawrence, Massachusetts faced terrible working conditions toiling away 60 hours a week for very little pay. They were lodged in substandard and unaffordable housing and faced extreme poverty. These workers were largely immigrants, most of them women, even some children.
For years the conditions continuously worsened. The workers decided they had enough and started to organize their neighborhoods block-by-block, and with the Industrial Workers of the World.
Then on January 11, 1912, a law was passed in Massachusetts that shortened the work week, reducing weekly pay as a result. This meant that dinner wasn't going to be on the table some nights.
For a community already suffering from malnutrition, this was the final straw that sparked the historic "Bread & Roses Strike" 101 years ago today. 25,000 workers went on strike. The strike lasted 9 weeks, cost 2 lives, and over $1 million dollars.
By organizing together the workers were able to win wage increases, overtime pay, and no discrimination for strike activity. The bravery and militancy demonstrated by these women, children and men contributed to the strength of the early labor movement in the U.S., setting the stage for unions today.
We honor their memory by working together to build a stronger and more democratic labor movement, which benefits all working people.
Click here to read more about the Bread & Roses Strike.
September 14, 2012: I really enjoyed the Women's Conference, my first one.
The speaker that stands out mostly for me was the San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White, it was very uplifting. I recall when she was sworn in as the first women fire chief in 2004.
I had a hard time picking out my favorite workshops because they were all important. My first work shop was, "It's OK to be OK" which was about overcoming workplace trauma. I went there hopeful to gain some tools for myself and my co-workers. The environment at VWR, where I work, can be scary. People go off on each other daily and many have lost jobs. What I got out of the class "It's OK to be OK" was to keep my co-workers laughing. We are all victims at work and even outside of work. Stay strong and be a survivor, not a victim.
Second workshop was history on Eleanor Roosevelt and the American worker. I loved it. We need to learn about our past. I chatted with the instructor, Brigid O'Farrell. We spoke briefly at the end. I said they need to teach labor history in school because they need to learn the struggle we went through to get where we are at. In the state of California labor history is allowed as a lesson in school, but not pushed. This is something to work on.
I joined other Teamster women for lunch with the Sandy Pope, president of Teamsters Local 805. It was an honor. It was truly a joy having lunch with her and other women, like Claudette Begin from Local 2010. We discussed basics on my workplace and how my co-workers have been without a contract for over two years. If anyone gets a chance, like I did, to hangout with Sandy, don't turn it down! She's really a great person and truly cares about our union and everyone she comes in contact with.
Sandy invited me to come along with her for dinner she was having with some Teamster sisters from Oklahoma. We all went site-seeing, shopping, and just had fun. She attracts good people. I can't wait to hang out again in New Orleans at next year's Women's Conference with all my new Teamsters sisters.
Joan Beighley, VWR
Local 853, San Bruno, Calif.
Click here to contact the TDU Women's Caucus.
September 7, 2012: Through Teamsters Local 804, Mary Ellen King and I were able to attend the 2012 Teamster Women's Conference in San Francisco, Calif.
It was a great experience. You could feel the amount of energy these women generated during the gatherings.
Several of the opening statements touched upon our current political challenges. They reinforced how important it is to get out and speak to our members and educate them about the abundant anti-labor platforms and to prevent these candidates from getting into office.
The "Contract Enforcement Workshop" given by Sally Payne gave insight on how to determine which issues are grievances and how to better handle each scenario. We learned to exhaust other methods of initiating conversations to work towards our desired goals. We trained by holding mock grievances and using sample questions.
My favorite workshop was "Labor History: Women Workers in San Francisco." We explored the heroic women who created one of the strongest labor movements. After which Mary Ellen and I were able to go on sort of a labor movement site-seeing tour.
A great ship called the Balclutha provides a portrait of the various workers associated with the seafaring trades in the late 19th and 20th century. The original union halls where created in the nearby Bay Area. The Bay Area was instrumental in ship-building for the war. Women were the primary laborers in the war effort but were discriminated and removed from their jobs once the war was over, and through employer backing propaganda and were told going back to their domestic roles was the right thing to do.
It was an amazing history class which proves through unity we can have change. There is still a war on workers. I like to learn about where we came from so that we can think about where we’re going, because history repeats itself.
Another great thing about the conference was the change to network with our Teamster Sisters, to discuss our common concerns and applaud our accomplishments. I met so many women, and was invited all over the country, from Puerto Rico to Alaska. I met UPSers, truck drivers, nurses, bus drivers, clerical workers, and women in the field of education. I was also able to meet up with fellow TDU members, and we were able to talk and get to know each other better. I look forward to networking and working with these sisters in the future.
Dorothy Hanlon, UPS
Local 804, New York
Click here to contact the TDU Women's Caucus.
July 6, 2012: Teamster women are growing in numbers and can be a big part of rebuilding Teamster power.
TDU helps women stand up for our rights on the job, share information and get more involved.
Click here to get involved and learn more at the TDU Women Teamsters page.
"Women face the same things that men do on the job and in the union, they just affect us differently.
"The 15% giveback to YRC devastated us and our families, too. Sometimes the company even runs me into my day off making it near impossible to take care of the house and my grandkids.
"YRC executives gave themselves big bonuses with that money. The union should've said no to the 2-year extension, and should instead revisit the books every year.
"I'm a proud Teamster and TDU member. The International should stand up for freight Teamsters. We earned our wages through hard work, and shouldn’t be moving backwards."
Vicky Bowers, YRC Road Driver, Local 135, Indianapolis
Equal Pay for Equal Work
"The job I work is made up of 75% women, and we are getting paid less than the men who do the same work. We are the third largest law enforcement agency, preceded by the NYPD and the Corrections Officers. We deal with the same issues and our job is just as hard.
"A majority of the school safety agents, Teamster brothers and sisters, stepped up and signed on to a lawsuit demanding equal pay. It doesn't just affect women; it affects everyone.
"I am attending my first TDU Convention this year. I'm looking forward to learning how others have overcome issues like this at the workplace, meeting different people and getting more members involved."
Kangela Moore, NYPD Division of School Safety, Local 237, New York
"My local union is headed by a woman, and the members of my local elected me as a delegate to the 2011 Teamster Convention to nominate Sandy Pope.
"In Las Vegas it was like a different world. Many of the other delegates tried to intimidate and silence me. It was very disappointing.
"We need to continue organizing women in our union to have a voice and be part of making an impact."
Laverna Wharam, Inver Grove Heights School
Local 320, Minnesota
Run For Office—TDU Can Help
"TDU provides education and resources members can use to develop as union leaders, whether they're women or men. Being a member of TDU has given me a huge sense of pride because of that.
"I want to see more women in leadership positions of our union.
"There are a lot of Teamster women out there who are qualified to serve in office, works as reps and organizers and can help propel our union forward."
Rosemary Stedronsky, UPS Part-Time, Local 63, Ontario, Calif.
Hire More Women, Strengthen Our Union
"The International union should be doing more to deal with gender discrimination—not just at UPS, but within the Teamsters. We need more women in power and more women on the job.
"I still encounter guys that I work with—my brothers—that think women shouldn't be doing the job. That UPS just hired me and gave me 30 years seniority—that I didn't earn it.
"It's been a bumpy road, but a good one too. I truly enjoy most of the guys I work with, and when it comes time for me to retire I will miss the friendships I've made."
Rozalind Coleman, UPS Feeder Driver, Local 688, St Louis
Women Teamsters: We Aren't So Rare!
"I'm so glad that TDU is showcasing women Teamsters. I suspect most Teamsters, like I, haven't been aware of the diversity of members and the industries represented by the IBT.
"We need our union to start recognizing the needs of women Teamsters, at work when we face problems like discrimination, sexual harassment and employers unwilling to recognize family obligations that still fall mostly on women. Broader issues like reproductive rights, healthcare and childcare are very related to a woman's ability to work—our union should support those rights.
"I joined TDU because TDU raises the bar on how Teamsters can be more effective in our union and in our lives. That's especially valuable today when workers in every workplace are being assailed more than ever before."
Claudette Begin, UCAL School of Public Health, Local 2010, Berkeley, Calif.
March 14, 2012: TDU celebrates the contributions of Teamster women to our union and to labor struggles for social and economic equality.
Building strong unions has paid off for women workers—literally. Women in unions earn higher wages, have better health care coverage, more rights to paid sick leave and vacation, pension plans, and more rights and power on the job.
Women union members make $2 an hour more than nonunion women workers. The difference for women of color is even bigger—with union women making 35% more than nonunion workers. Union women workers are 19% more likely to have employer health insurance and 25% more likely to have a pension.
Throughout history, Teamster women have helped build the union, often against long odds. And Teamster women have helped lead TDU in fighting for a Teamsters Union that fights for all Teamsters.
Local 213 Teamster Diana Kilmury was such a leader, and was elected the first woman International Vice President of the Teamsters Union in 1991.
Twenty years later, Sandy Pope became the first woman Teamster to run for Teamster General President.
In between, thousands of Teamster women have gotten involved with TDU to build a stronger union.
TDU celebrates the contributions of Teamster women to our union and to our movement.
"It's tough being a woman with a truck driving job—not because of the work, but because it's out of the realm of normal roles women have in society. But being a single parent and having to support 2 kids I had to look for other options where I could earn a higher income.
"Women fought hard for the right to have these jobs. Thanks to them I can make a decent salary as a package car driver. I joined TDU to continue changing our union for the better."
Dorothy Hanlon, Local 804
"The TDU Women's network brings together women Teamsters to share information and education, help us stand up for our rights on the job, and empowers us to get involved in rebuilding the union."
Noreen Hollingsworth, Local 237
Co-Chair Teamsters for a Democratic Union
DVD Mother Trucker: The Diana Kilmury Story
Her story was made into an award-winning 1996 movie. Click here to order a copy!
Watch her story and find out how Diana helped build TDU in its early years, spoke up for members on the Teamster Convention floor, helped win the Right to Vote, and changed our union for the better.
Sandy Pope, president of a Teamsters local in New York City and one of the most prominent women in the union, announced on Monday that she would challenge James P. Hoffa for the presidency.
Mr. Hoffa, who has the most famous name in organized labor, has headed the International Brotherhood of Teamsters since 1999. The election will be in October 2011.
Click here to read more at The New York Times.
BNA Daily Labor Report: Report Finds Unions Must Make Changes To Avoid Risk of Losing Young Female Talent
July 26, 2010: Unions must begin to make changes now or today's young activists, and their younger colleagues, will abandon the labor movement and pursue social justice in other organizations with more welcoming cultures and values, according to a report released July 16 by the Berger-Marks Foundation.
While there have been significant gains for women in workplaces and the labor movement, a two-day summit in March 2010 in New Orleans among 30 women activists from at least 20 unions and other advocacy organizations outlined steps unions can take to attract young workers, and support them in key leadership roles, according to the report, Stepping Up, Stepping Back: Women Activists ‘Talk Union’ Across Generations.
The Berger-Marks Foundation helps to organize women into unions by providing financial support and “camaraderie to people and organizations doing that work,” according to its website (www.bergermarks.org).
The foundation's “trustees weren't sure quite what to expect when we brought together 30 women activists—half of them younger than 35, the other half older than 35—to New Orleans last March for an intergenerational conversation about the labor movement,” the foundation said in a statement. “What we got was a deeper understanding of what it is about unions that turns younger women on and what turns them off.”
The report “pulls no punches in its critique of today's unions. Its prescription for change includes practical, yet bold, steps that America's labor movement should undertake in order to ensure it becomes a ‘safe space’ for tomorrow's women workers and activists,” the foundation said.
The report found that the women under age 35 attending the conference want to spend their adult lives supporting organized labor. However, whether that happens will depend on “how quickly unions and allied organizations respond to their needs.” Members of the under-35 group have already thought about making the transition from labor organizations to social justice organizations because the culture for women and younger activists is more accepting, the report said.
The loss of more than 8 million jobs from 2007 to 2010 has meant that many women under age 35 “feel stuck” in positions that they would otherwise abandon, the report said. But it observed that a guaranteed revenue stream of monthly dues from union members gives women who work for various labor organizations more job security than their colleagues who work for other organizations and nonprofits.
Making Unions More Responsive to Young Women
Some of the goals for unions that the women under 35 recommended during the summit included creating “safe spaces” for women and younger activists, the report said. It found that younger union activists “need room to make mistakes and have the freedom to discuss their experiences without being judged by the higher-ups in the union hierarchy.”
The report also pointed out that sexism and sexual harassment still are “too common” throughout the labor movement and must end or unions will not have the chance to recruit and retain a new generation of women activists and leaders. Adopting policies that avoid sexual harassment has not been enough to change an ingrained culture of sexism, the report said. It asserted that union leaders must be willing to call out and punish union members who engage in inappropriate conduct.
Unions should reach out to younger workers by providing opportunities for interaction that does not rely on social networking, the report said. “What matters to younger workers are the issues unions tackle, not whether their leaders have a large following on Twitter.”
Shifting Labor's Agenda
Organized labor's agenda and its traditionally male-dominated culture make adoption of a feminist agenda “all but impossible for unions,” the report said. It suggested that unions partner with women's organizations at the community and national level.
Other recommendations included establishing a mentoring program for younger women. In addition to formal traditional mentoring, the report recommended peer-to-peer mentoring programs.
Younger activists want training in basic union skills, such as managing meetings and handling grievances as well as comprehensive, continuing education on economics, politics, and why unions matter, the report said.
Unions should implement term limits for certain elected offices at labor organizations that do not already have them, the report said. It added that term limits would send a strong signal to younger activists that they could get the chance to reach the top leadership ranks of their unions. Expanding the number of seats on union governing boards would allow more women and persons of color in leadership positions, according to the report.
Younger workers also want to be included in “real decision-making” and have the opportunity to take responsibility for important projects, the report said.
“The young women who met in New Orleans are tough, seasoned labor leaders who can make a real difference for the union movement,” the report said. “They want to be at the main table. They don't deserve to be relegated to the ‘kids' table.’ But, younger activists don't want just a seat. They want to help plan the menu and prepare the meal.”
Lastly, the report recommended that union meetings be structured to allow younger members to network and interact face-to-face with older, more experienced leaders and activists. Younger members should be encouraged to plan and execute social events, not just for their own peer group, but for the entire membership, the report said. “Life for working families is tough enough these days, so union-sponsored events should be fun as well as informational and substantive,” the report concluded.
By Alicia Biggs