Coalition of Labor Union Women
    • Achieving equal pay for equal work has been a CLUW goal since our inception and we are continuing to push the needle forward towards wage equality. As we persist in this struggle, we recognize the Equal Pay Days along the way, recognizing this August 7th as Black Women’s Equal Pay Day.

      When compared to White, non-Hispanic men, Black/African American women earn only 63 cents on the dollar. This means the typical Black woman must work until August 2018 to be paid what the typical White man was paid at the end of December 2017.

      On August 7th at 2:00 - 3:00 pm ET CLUW will be co-sponsoring a Social Media Storm along with women's rights, labor and racial justice advocates nationwide to #DemandMore for Black women. We will use Black Women’s Equal Pay Day as a reminder of how far we have left to go to achieve wage equality and educate others on the importance of this issue. Add your voice on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram by using the hashtags #BlackWomensEqualPay and #DemandMore.

      Here are a few tweets, but use your own also:

      Black women’s pay disparity is compounded by so many issues: from employment discrimination, gender and race-based bias, lack of pay transparency, to an inadequate minimum wage and tipped minimum wage, just to name a few. On this #BlackWomensEqualPay Day, Black women nationwide are demanding more for their contributions, their dollar and their vote. When Black women are paid fairly for their contributions, everyone wins.

      Please join CLUW in getting involved this August 7th. Black women deserve better.

      For more information please find the “Equal Pay for Black Women” resource by the National Women’s Law Center here.

      “Breast Cancer – Be Aware” was a resolution adopted at the 19th Biennial CLUW Convention in 2017.

      The CLUW Women’s Health and Wellness Committee wants women to know that 40% of women age 40 and over have dense breasts. Mammograms will miss more than 50% of cancers present in dense breasts. Some states, but not all, have laws requiring that women be notified if they have dense breasts so they can discuss additional screening options with their doctor.  Breast density is determined through a woman’s mammogram, but for women with dense breasts, additional screening tests such as ultrasound or MRI will substantially increase detection of cancer found at an early stage when it is most treatable and survivable.   The Breast Density and Mammography Reporting Act  (HR 4122 and S. 2006) was introduced by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (Dem-CT ) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Dem-CA) in the 115th Congress to require providers of mammography to notify women if they have dense breast tissue.  The Women’s Health and Wellness Committee urges women to ask if they have dense breasts when they get their mammogram results.  Urge your US Representative and Senators to co-sponsor the Breast Density and Mammography Reporting Act and bring this non-partisan issue to a vote so this information can be provided to you by your doctor on a regular basis. More information is available at DenseBreast-info.org.

      From April 30th to May 2nd of this year CLUW held a very successful two and a half day “Sisters Not Afraid of Power” Women’s Leadership Skills Conference at the Tommy Douglas Conference Center in Silver Spring, MD. The conference was held in conjunction with a National Executive Board meeting and Working Women’s Award Celebration with 150 people registered for the events.

      The conference was designed to give attendees skills to play prominent roles in their unions, CLUW chapters and their communities. The training included plenary sessions as well as Effective Leadership Training Sessions developed specifically for the members of CLUW. These training sessions focused on understanding the CLUW constitution, finances, how to run effective meetings, organizing and outreach and were very well received with over 75% of attendees rating the sessions as “excellent’’.

      In addition, attendees were able to choose elective workshops that included a workshop on running for office that Denisha Dean (APWU) noted “was great for personal growth in the public eye. Great tips and pointers for campaigning.” Another workshop on #MeToo and the labor movement was called “very welcoming and intimate” by Kandy Ross (UAW) who said she “loved sharing stories and hearing everyone’s experiences.” Regarding a ‘Power to the People’ workshop, Eugenia Jones-Boyd (UAW) said she really enjoyed it and “learned how to make a greater impact when planning demonstrations and rallies.”

      Overall, the conference exceeded its goal to provide knowledge to rebuild our chapters, strengthen our network support and prepare everyone for the challenges facing the labor movement today, including the 2018 elections. It provided a supportive learning environment where veteran members of CLUW and newcomers were able to learn from each other. To read the full event program click here.

      Watch the video above to hear what young workers Crystal Herrera (IBEW) and Jeanette Geter (SEIU) had to say about why they attended the conference. Thank you to CLUW Media Committee member Tanya Hutchins (IAMAW) for the video production.

      To read more about the other events CLUW held the week of the conference click the links below:

      May 3rd National Executive Board Meeting

      CLUW’s 5th Biennial Working Women’s Award Celebration

      Young Sisters Not Afraid of Power Rally

      Attendees of the Run for Office, Not for Coffee workshop

      For more pictures check out the photo gallery for the conference here.


      CLUW Pres. Elise Bryant mobilizes the rally crowd 

      On Saturday, June 30th, over 600 different #FamiliesBelongTogether events occurred throughout the United States in a mass day of action against family separation at the border and Trump’s “Zero-Tolerance” immigration policy. CLUW members participated in cities around the country and in the nation’s capital where President Elise Bryant spoke at a labor rally before the main #FamiliesBelongTogether event.

      The labor rally was organized by the Labor Coalition for Community Action (LCCA), composed of the constituency groups of the AFL-CIO, and held in front of the AFL-CIO headquarters.

      Along with CLUW President Elise Bryant, speakers at the labor rally included: Tefere Gebre, Executive Vice President of the AFL-CIO, Alejandra Y. Castillo, CEO of YWCA USA, Robin Williams, International Vice President of UFCW, Liz Powell, Secretary Treasurer of APWU (also representing CBTU), Jerame Davis, Executive Director of Pride At Work, Sookyung Oh, DC Director of the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium and APALA representative, Ana Marie Argilagos, President of Hispanics in Philanthropy, and Sara Nelson, President of AFA-CWA). Hector Sanchez , Executive Director of LCLAA served as emcee. President of APWU, Mark Dimondstein, was also in attendance to support.  

      Other attendees included union members, activists, working families, and those who earlier in the morning attended a Shabbat (Sabbath) gathering held at the AFL-CIO by Jews United for Justice.

      Watch a recap video of the Labor Rally here. And click here to hear a short statement by President Elise Bryant about the march.  Read more here.


      Kim Cook Bell (r) chapter pres. St. Louis CLUW with UAW sisters at Troy, MO rally


      r-l Carol Rosenblatt and Tiana Outram from national CLUW office and LCLAA sister in front of AFL-CIO


      Elise Bryant holds charter with Brenda Savoy (Chesapeake Bay pres.) with chapter members, l. –r.: Rhonda Rogers (CLUW VP IAM), MD State Officers, Sherry McKnight and Chaé Carriere and far r. Tanya Hutchins (chapter treasurer).

      The Chesapeake Bay (MD) chapter, received its charter at the National Executive Board meeting on May 3rd held at the Tommy Douglas Conference Center in Silver Spring, MD.  NEB members voted to approve standing committee co-chairs and 15 committees met to map out a plan of work.  One of those committees, Women’s Health and Wellness, developed the following cancer prevention notice:

      Prevent Cancer With HPV Vaccine

      The CLUW Women’s Health and Wellness Committee is concerned that vaccination rates for HPV (human papilloma virus) are lower than they should be in the U.S.  Many strains of HPV cause infection and those that don’t go away can cause cancer in both women and men.  Prevention of cervical cancer and other cancers caused by HPV was a major project of CLUW sister Carolyn Jacobson. The vaccine is recommended at age 11 or 12. Only two doses of HPV vaccine are needed when given six to twelve months apart before age 15. The HPV vaccine prevents cervical cancer in women, and also anal, throat and other cancers as well as genital warts in males and females.  The Women’s Health and Wellness Committee urges all CLUW members to talk with their chapter, family and community members to encourage them to have their children immunized so they won’t get preventable cancers.

      For more information please visit:

      Centers for Disease Control: Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

      Healthy Women: How Many People Have HPV?


      Honorees holding awards surrounded by CLUW National Officers (individual photos of award recipients can be found later in article).  Thank you to Carlos H. San Miguel, Jr. (IAM) for providing the photos for this story.

      After several days of participating in the SNAP (Sisters Not Afraid of Power) conference, CLUW continued the enthusiasm on May 4th by recognizing seven outstanding women in a standing room only crowd at the AFL-CIO Headquarters in Washington, DC. President Elise Bryant led the group in song “Welcome Union Members…we are in your presence, hand in hand together, we make the union strong.” She turned the program over to emcee Karen Bellamy Lewis (National CLUW Vice President, IFPTE) who accepted the Friend of Labor Award for her Congresswoman, Hon. Bonnie Watson Coleman, (NJ -12) who was unable to be present but sent greetings which can be viewed here.

      All of the honorees were given the opportunity to speak briefly; what follows are some of their thoughts and how they were inspired.

      Dora Cervantes, the first female and Latina General Secretary-Treasurer of IAM was the recipient of the Olga Madar Leadership Award and acknowledged that in spite of her first impression of unions being not welcoming for women she became a union member and has been a Machinist for over 29 years. She shared that, “For more than half of my life I’ve been fighting for workers’ rights and women’s issues. I became involved because I wanted to make a difference in our workplace and in our union.”

      Elissa McBride, Secretary-Treasurer of AFSCME received the Trailblazer Award and she described women as trailblazers this way:” We blaze trails together… we know that is how we build power; we believe in reaching a destination on the trail…women walk trails with stamina – the more difficult, longer and arduous the race the better chance women have to beat men.”  Read more here.


      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 Tanya Hutchins (IAM) video).


      MCs: Rachel Walthall (CLUW VP, APWU) and Rachel Bryan (CLUW VP, IBEW)


      Denisha Dean with crowd

      Jaida Curtis


      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"

  • August 16, 2018
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