CLUW encourages you to take advantage of the UALE Summer Schools that are a wonderful opportunity for education, empowerment and sisterly solidarity. For more information and to register click here.
l-r; Elise Bryant, Denisha Dean, Lalli Castillo, Lynn Marie Smith, Aurora Bihler. Natasha Isma (rear)
On a bright, sunny May 4th CLUW members and friends rallied outside the AFL-CIO Building in downtown Washington, DC as young sisters told their stories, chanted and called for real change, real soon! President Bryant made it clear that, ”We are 51% of the population and we will be 51% of union leadership and ……our place is in the White House.” Recognizing the next generation as the future of labor, Denisha Dean, 28 years old, an APWU local president and CLUW Los Angeles Chapter member came to the podium with the chant of “ Join Us For The Long Run, The Union Is For Everyone”. She described her experience of winning the presidency of her local by 13% in spite of having her motherhood, skin color and age questioned. But she realized, ”This is my time, why not me, why not here?!”
Aurora Bihler of the Iron Workers in St. Louis, MO recounted what a woman has to face in non-traditional jobs including ill fitting gloves and a wrong sized safety harness. She said that, “Women in the building trades deserve to have a safe pregnancy … and “if the Iron Workers can do it your union can too.”
Lalli Castillo, IBEW, “ a young worker, an electrician, a mother, proud union member, dreamer and activist” described how “being a union member, having equal pay makes me realize what I have, but also what others' don’t have… I want all women to get paid dollar for dollar..”
Natasha Isma, AFSCME DC 37, New York City, reminded the crowd that, “It’s important that your unions are supporting younger workers…Young people are not to be excluded from the labor movement because this is our time ….we need to step up to the plate because we are ready to lead.”
Jaida Jenkins Curtis, 20 year old Asst. to the CLUW President, next performed a special hip hop dance to Beyoncé’s ‘Flawless” for its empowerment and uplifting message.
Lynn Marie Smith (AMU,) Motown Diva ended the rally by leading the crowd in an enthusiastic union rendition of Uptown Funk.
The full rally can be seen and heard on CLUW's Face book page (thanks to IAM’s video).
MCs: Rachel Walthall (CLUW VP, APWU) and Rachel Bryan (CLUW VP, IBEW)
Denisha Dean with crowd
It is with a heavy heart that we notify you of the death of Carolyn Jacobson after a 2 year valiant battle with endometrial cancer.
Elise Bryant, CLUW’s President describes Carolyn this way, ”Activist, unionist, educator and hell raiser, we give thanks for the spirit, intelligence and passion Carolyn brought to everything she put her hand to. Like our foremothers Mother Jones, Olga Madar and Sojourner Truth, Her spirit marches on!”
After graduation in 1972 from Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations Carolyn served as an intern at the AFL-CIO in publications and public relations and then worked for 28 years as the director of public relations for the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Miller International Union (BCTGM). During that time she was the union’s representative to CLUW, coordinated union women, participated in women’s activities and formed a women’s committee.
She obtained a Masters of Science degree (Communications) in 1979 from American University.
Carolyn was committed to CLUW from the beginning as a founding member, having attended the first conference in Chicago 44 years ago this month. She served as a project consultant and special assistant to the CLUW President for 15 years.
After retiring from BCTGM in 2001 she created and directed CLUW’s Contraceptive Equity Project to make sure that unions knew they had a right to demand contraceptive coverage in their health plans if the plan covered other preventive drugs and devices. When it shut its doors in early 2004, the project had succeeded in assisting millions of union families secure contraceptive equity in their health plans. CLUW continued to urge union women to check to see if their plans covered contraception… and if the plan didn’t, CLUW asked them to urge their respective union to pursue the issue… reminding them that “the union can threaten the employer with a law suit under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.” Read more here.
What's New at Coalition of Labor Union Women
In celebration of Women’s History Month CLUW, with co-sponsors of the Labor Heritage Foundation and the AFL-CIO Office of the Secretary-Treasurer, was proud to sponsor a performance of activist and song-writer Bev Grant’s (AFM) inspiring project “We Were There” at the AFL-CIO National Headquarters on March 19th.
“We Were There!” is a multi-media women's labor history project which features voices, songs and projected images depicting our sisters' struggles to fight for their rights and justice for their communities. CLUW President and Labor Heritage Foundation Executive Director Elise Bryant coordinated the local production that you can see by watching the video snippet above as Bev Grant and the performers joined together for the closing song. To hear a full rendition of the title song, performed by Bev Grant with the Brooklyn Women's Chorus, click here.
The hour long program allowed local leaders, including CLUW members Carolyn J. Williams, Connie Cordovilla, Huayra Forster, Tanya Hutchins, Tsika Pasipanodya and AFL-CIO Secretary - Treasurer Liz Shuler among others, to represent historical characters as a tribute and acknowledgment of their work and on-going legacy. See the program for the full list of participants and the extraordinary women they were portraying.
From abolitionist Sojourner Truth, to farmworkers rights activist Dolores Huerta, and with a special addition of CLUW’s founding president Olga Madar, the project successfully brought the voices of women’s past to the forefront with a powerful musical and visual touch that was truly unique and memorable.
To learn more about this program visit Bev Grant’s Website here.
"Liz Schuler performing her role as Olga Madar, the first president of CLUW"
"Carolyn J. Williams plays abolitionist and teacher Charlotte Forten"