A Woman's Place is in the Teamsters

Our union’s failure to encourage leadership by women members is a symptom of a bigger problem. Too often, Teamster officials discourage member involvement unless you’re part of the old boys club.

Brooke_thumb.jpg

I’m excited to be going to the Teamster Women’s Conference.

It’s a weekend of sisterhood, solidarity, and Teamster education. Our union has amazing women, stewards, activists, rank-and-file leaders.

It’s a shame that so much of this talent and power is put in a corner except for one conference a year. We have just one woman in the International Union leadership—and Hoffa-Hall tried to prevent her from taking office. Leadership by women at the local union level is not much better.

Our union’s failure to encourage leadership by women members is a symptom of a bigger problem. Too often, Teamster officials discourage member involvement unless you’re part of the old boys club.

We can do better.

In Rhode Island, we elected new local union leaders that opened up the union to the members. There was no political litmus test. The new executive board reached out to everyone who was committed to building a stronger union by informing and mobilizing the members.

We won the right to elect our shop stewards and contract negotiating committees. We formed Contract Action Teams to unite and mobilize the members to win good contracts.

At Rhode Island Hospital where I work, women stepped up to help lead the fight to win a good contract and to enforce it.

The slogan of the Teamsters Human Rights Commission is “A strong union involves everyone.” That’s the truth.

It’s great to see Teamster sisters involved at the Women’s Conference.

Let’s take the information and organizing skills we learn there and put them to work building a stronger Teamsters—including tearing down the barriers to participation for Teamster women.

By Brooke Reeves, Recording Secretary Local 251, Rhode Island

Get Advice Join TDU Donate

Recent News

Getting Out the Vote for O'Brien-Zuckerman Teamsters United

The ballots are out and we’re on the verge of making history. As of Monday, 100,925 ballots are in. That means the vast majority of members who will vote in the election have not voted yet. Here are five things you can do right now to get out the vote.

Teamster Insurgents Could Win Their Union Election

One of the most common sentiments repeated by workshop leaders at the TDU convention was, ​The real fight is about to begin after we win.” — By Ryan Haney (reprinted from In These Times & Labor Notes)

View More News Posts