More than 1,000 young union members came together in Chicago March 19-22 at the AFL-CIO Third "Next Up" Young Workers' Summit. CLUW members from Philadelphia, New York and Maryland actively participated -- thanks to financial support from local CLUW, the AFL-CIO (who sponsored a Philly CLUW member to attend) and individual union sponsors.
Dina Yarmus (UNITE-HERE), who heads the Philadelphia CLUW Chapter's Young Workers' Committee and Erica Guerrido (TWU. CLUW and CBTU) played prominent roles there: Dina lead a workshop with Randi Pearson (Toledo, Ohio) a member of the United Steelworkers and Women of Steel, "Organizing Around Gender Discrimination in the Workplace" and Erica was part of a panel, “Think Globally, Act Locally: The Power of Constituency Groups.”
This article is based on Dina's written report. Erica presented an oral report to the CLUW National Executive Board on April 10th in Jacksonville, Florida (pictured at left with National Treasurer Judy Beard). Both reports were enthusiastic and optimistic about organized labor's commitment to reach out to young workers, listen to their wants and needs and include them in development of policies and leadership.
Dina's workshop encouraged participants “to think about how gender shaped their lives from a young age and impacts their day-to-day work experiences and industries. They also discussed concrete examples that participants were grappling with in their organizing. This was part of an overall initiative in the AFLCIO to push participants to address challenges and barriers to leadership development of women in the labor movement and the challenges to organizing around sexism in the workplace."
"Race and gender are central to our fight for economic justice," she observed.
In Erica's workshop, panelists "spoke about the unique and important work that constituency groups play within the labor movement and within our communities. In this conversation they talked about how CLUW and other constituency groups introduce the importance of cultural competency as well as highlighting the important role we play expanding the consciousness about unions and the labor movement within our communities. Many exciting questions were posed about how we continue to grow our work and learn from each other in collaborative and dynamic ways."
In her report, Dina noted that "through-out the conference, we discussed what it means to be the next generation of leaders in the labor movement. We challenged ourselves to imagine the labor movement we want to build for future generations while starting with the day-to-day realities we face in our workplaces and communities.....We wrestled questions at the root of our power as a labor movement. Where do we draw our strength? What resonated with many was our ability to draw strength and strategy from effective organizing, strategic campaigns and growing winning movements.
Other issues discussed included: "How are we building our influence, our sophistication in navigating and our ability to exercise our democratic rights? How are we organizing to make our political system work in the interests of working people across our communities and across our country?"
Click here to read all of Dina's report.
It might be surprising to learn that heart disease is the #1 killer among women. Even more surprising is that most common heart tests come with risks and side effects and can be less accurate in women.
The great news is you have options. Before you decide on any testing, do your homework and talk to your doctor. Together you can determine the best and safest test for you.
Study up! Download our Testing Methods Comparison Chart and prepare for a productive appointment with your doctor.
CLUW is a sponsor of the Spread the Word campaign.
Wear RED on Equal Pay Day to symbolize how far women
and minorities are "in the red" with their pay!
If we didn't have a wage gap, we wouldn't need this coupon
Urge Congress to Pass the Paycheck Fairness Act!
Fair pay champions in the House and Senate recently reintroduced the Paycheck Fairness Act in the 114th Congress. You can be a critical part of passing the Paycheck Fairness Act by urging your members of Congress to be co-sponsors. Take action today!
The Paycheck Fairness Act would close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act of 1963 that prevent the original legislation from fully addressing the pay gap.
The most recent Census statistics revealed that women’s earnings were 78.3% of men’s earnings in 2013. The earnings of African American women were 68.1%, Latinas were 60.4% and Asian American women’s earnings were 84.6% of all men’s earnings.
Ask your members of Congress to co-sponsor the Paycheck Fairness Act today!
Graphics and statistics courtesy of the National Committee on Pay Equity
Monday, March 23, 2015 marked the 41st Anniversary of the creation of the Coalition of Labor Union Women. Here is a brief 2:00 highlight of how CLUW was born and the work that we have done throughout our history.
Information Is Also Relevant for CLUW Chapters
A new publication by Cornell University’s ILR School’s Workers Institute and the Berger-Marks Foundation provides hands-on advice and concrete tools for unions and worker-centered organizations to develop and implement women’s committees.
CLUW President Connie Leak noted her appreciation for publication of the guide and the accompanying on-line workshop, saying, “Although these materials are focused at unions, there is a lot of information in both the guide and the workshop that can be helpful for CLUW chapters -- for starting a chapter as well as for expanding the chapter and ‘thinking outside the box.’”
A Guide to Organizing Women’s Committees: Everything You Need to Know to Make a Difference was written by Jane LaTour, in consultation with Cornell ILR School faculty Lois Gray and Maria Figueroa, with funding provided by the Berger-Marks Foundation. The Guide provides step-by-step instruction to forming women’s committees in unions and worker-centered organizations.
“Genuine, systemic equality for women at the workplace, in their unions, and within the labor movement is still unrealized,” LaTour writes in her introduction. “Mobilizing and organizing women to champion their interests – and ultimately, the advancement of their organization – is an effective means to hasten change.”
The Guide is based on a 2014 study by Gray and Figueroa, Women’s Committees in Worker Organizations, that identifies the most effective strategies, programs, and objectives of established women’s committees at a range of local and international unions and worker centers.
The Berger-Marks Foundation commissioned Dale Melcher, former staff at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst Labor Extension Program, to create an accompanying workshop (with handouts) that can be presented at labor conferences and meetings. Both documents are available for print and download on the Berger-Marks Foundation website.
While International Women’s Day is now recognized by the United Nations and worldwide, its origin was in the labor movement.
On March 8, 1857, garment workers in New York City marched and picketed, demanding improved working conditions, a ten-hour day, and equal rights for women. Fifty-one years later, March 8, 1908, the struggle was commemorated by sisters in the needle trades in New York demanding the vote, and an end to sweatshops and child labor.
A year later an uprising of 30,000 women shirtwaist-makers resulted in the first permanent trade unions for U.S. women workers.
The struggle in the United States inspired a German socialist feminist Clara Zetkin (1857-1933) to make a motion at a socialist conference in Denmark in 1910 calling on socialist women of all countries to hold a women’s day in order to attain women’s suffrage.
In the famous 1912 Lawrence, Mass., textile strike, women carried picket signs reading "We want Bread and Roses, too", symbolizing their demands for not only a living wage but a decent and human life. Read more here.
ATLANTA (PAI)—AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler, the highest-ranking woman in the U.S. labor movement, is challenging her colleagues to promote more women to top jobs.
Working women, the labor movement, the voting public and President Barack Obama (D) all “get it” on working women's and family issues, she told the AFL-CIO Executive Council meeting in Atlanta on February 25. Those issues include paid sick days and child care, equal pay for equal work and fair work schedules.
But “we haven’t done a good job of selling ourselves as a movement that gets it,” Shuler said. And that starts with a lack of leaders.
Shuler pointed out that women head only seven of the nation’s 51 state labor federations, and that women hold 31 percent of “secondary offices” in those bodies. Though she did not say so, few women head the federation’s unions.
The most-prominent are AFT’s Randi Weingarten, other AFT leaders and the four co-presidents of National Nurses United, along with its executive director, Roseann DeMoro, CWA Secretary-Treasurer Annie Hill and AFSCME Secretary-Treasurer Laura Reyes.
So organized labor “has a lot of work to do” in representing women, Shuler said. She’s the sole woman among the AFL-CIO’s top three leaders.
"And let’s just think about it,” she added. “In all likelihood, for the presidential election, we’ll endorse one woman or another. We need to catch up.” The leader among Democratic presidential hopefuls is former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
But Shuler also admitted the women’s movement has a blind spot: Women of color. The labor movement can fill that gap, she said.
“We have a unique opportunity to be the place where all women – across class, race and immigration status – can come together and make the case for fair treatment and a fair economy” through collective action, organizing and winning union contracts, she said.
“So let’s use our Raising Wages campaign to do more than message issues. Let’s use it to connect with people and move them to action. Especially women. All women,” she urged.
Men now head both U.S. labor federations: AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and Teamsters President James Hoffa at Change To Win. Lilly Eskelsen-Garcia heads the independent 3.2-million-member National Education Association – the nation’s other teachers’ union – while Mary Kay Henry heads the 2.2-million member Service Employees, part of CTW. Colleen Kelley heads the independent Treasury Employees.
The above story was published in the 2/27/15 early edition of Press Associates Union News Service, Mark Gruenberg, editorr.
Sisters and Brothers
The Coalition of Labor Union Women is proud to join with more than 60 national organizations forming A Grand Alliance to Save Our Public Postal Service.
The United States Postal Service is a national treasure, serving more than 150 million households and businesses each day. It provides affordable mail service to everyone – rich and poor, no matter how remotely located they might be.
But that tremendous service to our communities and crucial postal jobs are threatened by those who want to profit from this great public institution being dismantled.
You can make a difference right now. Please sign the pledge to protect the public Postal Service. You’ll be part of the fight to protect and enhance vibrant public postal services now and for many generations to come.
Please take two minutes to watch this video starring actor-activist Danny Glover sharing his personal story about the importance of the Postal Service.
Then share the video and the Grand Alliance statement on Facebook, Twitter, and with your personal email lists. Encourage your friends and associates to do the same, and know that you have made a difference to protect this beloved American institution.
By a 14-2 vote Philadelphia City Council passed a Paid Sick Leave Bill on February 12th that will enable employees in companies with 10 or more employees to accrue one hour of sick time for every 40 hours worked, for a maximum of five days per year. Mayor Michael Nutter signed the bill into law a few hours after its passage after vetoing 2 earlier versions. The Philadelphia CLUW Chapter was part of the Coalition for Healthy Families and Workplaces which waged a seven year battle for paid sick leave in Philadelphia, the second largest city in the country to gain this benefit. The law will go into effect in 90 days.
Kathy Black, Philadelphia CLUW Chapter Treasurer commented, "Philly CLUW is proud to have been a major organizational player in the campaign from the beginning, and we couldn't be more delighted to finally see this day arrive." Read more here.
Pictured above l-r are two heroes of the campaign Marianne Bellesorte, of Pathways PA, the leader of the broad coalition from the beginning and Bill Greenlee, who championed this bill through City Council. Kathy Black, Treasurer Phila CLUW is at far right.
Every summer, the United Association of Labor Education (UALE) sponsors four regional “women’s schools.” These residential programs typically last between 4-5 days and include classes and workshops on a variety of union-related topics. Women from all over the country and beyond learn the skills and knowledge needed to play leadership roles in their unions. One of the most valuable aspects of the schools is the chance to meet and network with union women from around the region and beyond. This summer is the 38th year that these schools are being offered.
Below is the listing of the schools scheduled to date and contact information. When we have the place and dates of the Southern School, we will share it with you.
2015 Summer Schools
The 2015 Western Regional Institute for Union Women will take place on the Reed College Campus in Portland, OR, from June 23-27. The Coordinator is Barbara Byrd, University of Oregon LERC. Download a Save-the-Date flyer here: 2015 Western SIUW Save the Date.
The Northeast Union Women’s Summer School will be hosted by the Labor School at Penn State and held at the Penn State University Park Campus in State College, PA. Tentative dates for the program are July 25th-30th, 2015. For more information or to register contact Amy Dietz or Mary Bellman.
The 2015 Midwest School for Women Workers will be held from Sunday July 19 through Thursday July 23, 2015 in Chicago, IL. The school will be hosted by the DePaul University Labor Education Center, and is being coordinated by Nora Kelley. Download the save the date flyer for the 2015 Midwest School for Women Workers here 2015 Midwest School for Women Workers Flyer.
What's New at Coalition of Labor Union Women
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, most women now have coverage for well-women visits, without additional costs like co-pays and deductibles. But how can they make the most of this benefit? One of CLUW’s allied organizations, the National Women's Law Center has outstanding resources and information to help you learn more about this critical benefit and also to get the word out about the no-cost well-woman visit. Regular well-woman visits could be a turning point for women’s health — but only if women know about and make the most of them.
Check out their consumer-friendly guides, available in English and Spanish, and get on the road to being a well woman.