What's New at Coalition of Labor Union Women
Video provided by Tanya Hutchins (IAM), CLUW Media and Technologies Committee
The November 2018 SNAP Building for the Future Conference kicked off with a fantastic panel exploring “Women and the Impact of the Midterm Elections”. Moderated by CLUW Executive Director Carol Rosenblatt, the panel brought together local women activists who spoke on their experiences changing the political culture in Arizona and how their successes model what effective leadership can look like across the county.
The panel started with Athena Salman, AZ State Representative of Legislative District 26, who spoke on how seeing the injustice of wage inequality at her job in the hotel industry inspired her to run for office in 2016 at only 27 years old. She saw that “the money is there for us to have a state and a country where one job is enough,” so she was committed to run for office to work to make a livable minimum wage a reality. She sees that she has already begun to make a difference representing working class issues as a Latina, an Arab-American, and a young person.
Sharon Kirsch, Ph.D., also shared an inspiring win during the panel. She is the Director of Research at Save Our Schools Arizona, a young organization which has nevertheless been able to utilize women’s drive and anger at an unjust Arizona public school system to push change through the state legislature. She educated the crowd on how “for 20 years Arizona has been .. ground zero for privatization efforts which want to change our public schools into profit making mechanisms.” But through the grassroots organizing of angry moms, Save Our Schools Arizona was able to successfully bring forward and pass a public ballot measure which halted further funding for the corporate privatization of Arizona’s public education.
Jodi Liggett, Vice President of External Affairs for Planned Parenthood Arizona, spoke on the continuing issue of protecting women’s reproductive rights. She noted that 1 in 4 American women will have an abortion in her lifetime. Saying, “these culture wars are artificial, we are being used by partisans on the other side who want to make women’s health into a political issue.”
Panelists Tricia Sauer, AZ Statewide Organizer for the Indivisible Project, and Alejandra Gomez, Co-Executive Director for Living United for Change in Arizona, both talked about building on women’s power and continuing to activate and empower women at all levels of political organizing. Sauer emphasized “the person sitting next to you could run for office, you just need to ask her.” While Gomez made clear that the women working behind the scenes as campaign managers, field directors, staffers, etc. are also just as important to successful movements and campaigns.
Audience member and conference attendee, Tamika Johnson-Smith (APWU), said of the panel “all five panelists were very informative about how women in Arizona have taken on the challenge and stepped up to change the grand, and day to day, issues that women face.” Other attendees called the panelists enlightening, inspiring, diverse and dynamic. If you would like to learn more about each of the panelists click here to read their full bios.
The accomplishments of these women truly energized the room as they shared their strategies and wisdom for creating lasting change. Please take the time to watch the video clip of the panel above.
Video thanks to Tanya Hutchins (IAM), CLUW Media and Technologies Committee
On November 29th the National Executive Board voted to hold the 20th Biennial Convention from October 15-18, 2019 at the Tropicana Las Vegas – A Doubletree by Hilton hotel and designated the theme as “SNAP: Coming Together to Change the World!” The first day will be one of interactive workshops designed to further CLUW’s work in preparation for the 2020 elections and to build CLUW as a force of women in labor. Please see the flier here with basic information and check back for more details as they become available.
In prioritizing CLUW’s growth, the NEB voted to charter the Grand Prairie/Arlington Texas chapter (see photo). Welcome aboard!!
President Bryant opened the session by challenging the over 100 delegates and observers from throughout the country to FEAR: Face Everything and Rise! She spoke about the amazing election results for women including that 14 women were elected to the Senate and 102 to the House; 45 women of color were elected for the first time; the first woman senator from Tennessee was elected and two first time Native American sisters and two first time Latina sisters from Texas were elected; youngest woman elected to Congress; first Muslim women; first woman senator from Arizona, out and bisexual; 589 women ran for office. She concluded with, “This victory is ours – we did this, it was our hard work!” See the full presentation above.
Holding charter, Interim Chapter President Pauline Mims (UAW) with Pres. Bryant and Marquetta Hawkins and Sheila Penny
On Friday, November 30, 2018 over a hundred CLUW members and supporters gathered at the Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort in Phoenix, Arizona for a one-day SNAP: Sisters Not Afraid of Power – Building for the Future Conference. This powerful conference gave attendees the chance to choose from comprehensive workshops to expand their skills and knowledge regarding chapter and state finances, constitutional compliance, building better chapters, or the union’s role in addressing sexual misconduct.
The first workshop choice was mandatory for all chapter and state officers attending the conference and was broken into two parts. The first section covered financial responsibilities and was timed to provide assistance to CLUW leadership prior to mandatory annual reporting. It was formulated by National Treasurer Judy Beard (APWU) and facilitated by Marilyn Wiley (OPEIU), Sec. APWU Legislative and Political Dept. with support by national vice presidents Karen Bellamy Lewis (IFPTE) and Rachel Walthall (APWU). New York City Chapter President Rhonna Bonsu (AFSCME) found the presentation highly valuable stating “we need this at every NEB and convention.” The section on constitutional requirements was taught by CLUW National Vice President Rhonda Rogers (IAMAW) and Mary Halford (NALC) found it “extremely useful for those hoping to start a new chapter.”
Lisa Blake, CLUW National Vice President (OPEIU), conducted a workshop on best practices for building stronger CLUW chapters and increasing membership. Angela Dulaney (UAW) said of the workshop, “Lisa Blake was phenomenal. She was very engaging and included everyone. Best information and instruction in a long time.”
The last option titled “The Union's Role in Addressing Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, Stalking and Sexual Harassment” was led by CLUW National Vice President (USW) Janet Hill and Mary Jo O’Neill, Regional Attorney of the EEOC Phoenix District Office. Karen Magee (AFT) loved that the workshop “had real scenarios to facilitate the sharing of the information” which made for “a great learning experience.”
Overall attendees reported that they are excited to apply their new knowledge back at their chapters. These new skills are sure to help CLUW organize internally and expand our impact in the greater community.
Sexual Harassment Workshop: Janet Hill front with participants