What's New at Coalition of Labor Union Women
A sampling of how CLUW engaged and encouraged voters throughout the country (more to come later).
Pittsburgh: The first annual CLUW women to women labor walk took place on Saturday, October 27, hosted by Allegheny County Labor Council President, Darrin Kelly. Congressional Representative Conor Lamb stopped by to say a few encouraging words. The walk was cut short by the tragic shootings at a local synagogue.
CLUW Southwestern PA Chapter President Beth Mikus front middle and Janet Hill, National CLUW VP (USW) to her left surrounded by CLUW members Barb Barnes, Flo Gaskill, Stephanie Reynolds, Alex Criego, Darrin Kelly, Pres. Allegheny CLC, Tammy Sabo and Joanne Kreider.
Cleveland: On October 29th the OHIO Coalition of Labor Union Women and For Our Future OHIO held a rally with comedian and actress Kym Whitley which culminated in a march to the Board of Elections to vote early. The event honored the 19th Amendment that grants women the right to vote with at least 200, mostly women, participating.
Kym Whitley speaks to the crowd at Laborers Local 310 Union Hall before the march to the polls. Davida Russell, CLUW State President is on her right.
Team CLUW participated in a canvas project in Cleveland Heights, OH encouraging women to vote.
Detroit: About 22 members of the Metro Detroit Chapter participated in phone banking and canvasing in key areas in Detroit with lists provided by the Metro Detroit AFL-CIO of 2,000 names for phone banking and canvassing in highly populated areas in key zip codes where the concentration was on women voters. With women running for top positions (Governor and US Senate), CLUW’s candidate comparisons provided a great resource for voters.
10 Metro Detroit Chapter members did phone banking from 12 noon until 8:00 p.m. on Saturday 11/4. Phone bankers were able to use a library at a local apartment complex that recognized the importance of the election.
Pittsburgh, Nov.1.2018 - Pittsburgh is a small tightly knit community where everyone is connected. Someone knows a friend of a friend or relative of someone else and what touches them touches us. Our hearts go out to the families, friends and neighbors of those killed on Saturday. A hole has been torn in the fabric of our hearts and community and it is not the first tragedy of this year in Pittsburgh nor in the nation. Nationally there were three hate crimes last week. Mail bombs were sent to people criticized by the President by another man with a long history of violence, who had railed against Democrats and minorities online. On Wednesday (October 24), a white man with a history of violence, shot and killed two African-Americans seemingly at random, at a Kentucky Kroger store following a failed attempt to barge into a nearby Black church. Then there was Saturday, which was the largest anti-Semitic attack in the country.
Violence and hate have invaded places where people feel safe, like schools and houses of worship. It is not the first time a house of worship has been invaded by violence and prejudice. Hate has no place in our community and lives. We stand with those in the Jewish community and in in the African American community in unity and love. We all have things in common, and one of the biggest things is that we live in Pittsburgh where we are stronger than hate.
Online and in many other conversations, there were lots of thoughts and prayers. However, it’s a little like the old joke where a man prays to win the lottery and God replies, “You have to buy a ticket!” As a community we must respond because silence indicates acceptance.
Elise Bryant, CLUW National President extends her heartfelt sympathy to the families of those who lost their lives, those still recovering and the first responders – workers who also put their lives on the line, and to our CLUW Pittsburgh and national union sisters and brothers who suffer near and far when unspeakable tragedy strikes. She commented, “The time is now, the place is here. Together we will stop the cycle of fear with the unstoppable force of love and solidarity. We will march, we will sing, we will get out the vote for “liberty and justice for all!”
The Southern Poverty Law Center has produced a community resource guide to combating hate: Teaching Tolerance. Action must be taken, but we must be aware that bias is a human condition. American history is littered with examples of prejudice against other groups and individuals because they were different, whether because of their age, sex, race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and other characteristics. In order to combat hate, we have to support those who are targeted by hate speech.
In a time where silence is taken as compliance we must speak out against hate speech. The community can help through action, holding community meetings to discuss hate groups, calling friends and colleagues, joining with like-minded groups, and supporting the survivors of hate based crime. Debating hate group members in conflict driven talk shows or public forums is generally not worthwhile since it only gives them further legitimacy and allows them to speak in code words. Educate yourself on hate and bias and create an alternative to hate and meet each act of hate with love and unity. We must all speak up!
The purpose of unions is to represent all working folks not just a select few. As such, unions and the workers who form them are opposed to racism, sexism, and other forms of discrimination. Hate has no place in unions either.
The Labor Heritage Foundation’s Rebecca Weiss and Elise Bryant (also CLUW Pres.) sponsored a party in Takoma Park, MD on October 25th. About 25 sisters and brothers showed up – what a blast!
During the last week CLUW members from across the country and their friends and family wrote messages on thousands of postcards to union sisters in NV, GA, MN and CT where important races with women candidates were occurring. Kudos to APWU and Treasurer Judy Beard who committed to writing over 1,000 cards. See the photos for a sampling of where these postcard get togethers were happening. Background story can be found here.
CLUW Metro Detroit Chapter members get to work.
Missouri State CLUW President, Robbie Robertson (in gray jacket) and State VP Cathy Sherwin worked for several hours at APWU Offices in St. Louis.
CLUW is partnering with the AFL-CIO on a woman to woman GOTV postcard campaign where CLUW members, friends and supporters will address postcards to union women voters and write personal messages on the postcards, urging women voters to go out and vote. The postcards will be sent to union women in states that have been targeted because of their importance in races that impact women and families: Georgia, Nevada, Connecticut and Minnesota. You do not need to live in these states to participate in the campaign.
This is a wonderfully easy and effective non-partisan action as research shows that handwritten notes are one of the most powerful ways to get voters to the polls on Election Day. You already know the importance and the anticipated impact of the women's vote in 2018 as well as the incredibly large number of women candidates who support the issues that CLUW supports.
You will distribute the cards to your network (see below for suggestions), make sure the completed cards (postage provided) are mailed out in time and that you follow the simple instructions in the kit you will be receiving.
- Host a party at a coffee shop or at a community center and discuss the importance of the working women's vote and how that and the increased number of progressive, pro-labor women running for office can turn the country around.
- Include the post card project as part of a CLUW meeting or activity.
- Host a card writing event at your work site during a lunch break with co-workers.
- Host an event in your apartment complex.
- Coordinate an event with an organization that you have worked with such as NOW, etc.
Complete the information here to order the postcards (there are 30 postcards in a box).
CLUW Chapter Presidents, State Leadership and National Officers have already received this information so you should check with them to confirm whether they have already placed an order for your area.
This campaign was just approved. You must complete the online form by FRIDAY, OCTOBER 19 by 9 AM ET. Cards should be in the mail to the recipients no later than November 1st.