What's New at Coalition of Labor Union Women
Panelists speak on 'Making HERstory: Sisters of the Next Generation' panel. L-R: Nyssa Silva, Associate Director of High School Organizing for March for Our Lives, Las Vegas, NV; Katy Martinez, High School Student and Daughter of Culinary Union Members with Temporary Protective Status; Cassandra Charles, Field Organizing Specialist for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. Panel moderator Sabrina Larsen, REC Coordinator for Salt Lake Area APWU not shown.
A highlight of the 2019 CLUW Convention were the three diverse and enlightening panels held over the three days of Convention plenary sessions. Kicking off the panels was ‘Making HERstory: Sisters of the Next Generation’ which consisted of highly impressive young activists fighting for change in the areas of reproductive rights, immigration, and gun safety. All of the panelists were either in high school or college and were able to teach the audience important lessons about finding your voice, the power of mentoring, and believing in your own ability even in the face of other’s doubt. Attendee and Co-chair of CLUW’s Young Workers Caucus, Teresa-Marie Oller (APWU), found the panel to be ‘absolutely amazing’ and noted it was much needed to see women of all ages doing work which aligns with CLUW’s mission.
The next day another group of activists, this time teachers from across the county, joined together on the inspiring ‘Teacher Power Rising’ panel. The panelists, including AFT and NEA union members and leaders from Western Virginia, Los Angeles, and Arizona, described what could be learned from the successes and hardships of recent teacher actions in their respective areas. Panelist Arlene Inouye, a speech therapist and Secretary Bargaining Chair for UTLA (United Teachers Los Angeles), spoke on how shifting the union from a ‘service union to an organizing union’ and bringing ‘common-good demands’ which benefit parents and students, not just teachers, to the bargaining table was crucial in getting the whole community involved in their fight and ultimate victory. Attendee Kathy Black (AFSCME) noted that the ‘Teachers' panel was informative, inspiring, very timely.’
Another timely panel, held on the last day of the convention, focused on building community and labor alliances to create stronger and more powerful networks leading into the 2020 election. Each of the panelists do vital organizing work in Nevada, either through their union or through groups like the National Organization for Women (NOW) or League of Women Voters, which has helped lead Nevada to becoming the first state to achieve a female majority state legislature. Panelist Gloria Caoile, Founding Member of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), spoke on how ‘there is something we all can contribute that will make life better for all of us and our children’ and ultimately each of us individually putting in what we can is really what creates collective power.
Cheryl Teare (far left), AFT Special Assistant to the President, moderates 'Teacher Power Rising' panel. Panelists include (L-R): Arlene Inouye, Secretary and Bargaining Chair of UTLA and Speech Therapist; Pamela Huff, AFT Arizona Member; Brittany Dolly and Amber Brown, Members of AFT-Kanawha Local 444 West Virginia.
In Our Hands We Hold the Power' panel. (L-R) Moderator Nakisha M. Lewis, Civil and Human Rights Director for AFL-CIO; Gloria Caoile, APALA Founding Member; Sandra Cosgrove, President of the League of Women Voters, Nevada; Jeri Burton President Nevada National Organization for Women.
Dee Gorczyca receives Mother Jones Award from Karen Bellamy Lewis (IFPTE) National VP and Pres. Elise Bryant
At CLUW’s 20th Biennial Convention Dolores (Dee) Gorczyca received the Mother Jones Award in recognition of her lifelong contribution to bettering the lives of all workers. She served for twenty six years as International Representative and former National Secretary/Treasurer of IFPTE and is now retired. In 2016 she was nominated by the Governor of NJ and confirmed by the State Senate to the NJ Civil Service Commission, a position she still holds. Dee also served for eighteen years on CLUW’s National Officers Council as a national vice president and then as executive vice president. She is currently the state vice president from New Jersey. She is a lifetime member of CLUW.
Five CLUW state presidents were recognized with the Clara Day Award: Angela Ferritto (AFSCME), PENNSYLVANIA State President; Mary Groves (CWA), TEXAS State President; Robin Robertson (APWU), MISSOURI State President; Davida Russell (AFSCME), OHIO State President and Stephanie Thornton (UAW), MICHIGAN State President.
Clara Day, the award namesake, was an African-American member of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) and one of the founding members of CLUW, serving as Midwest Vice President in 1974 and elected as National Executive Vice President in 1988 through 2001. She was a member of Local IBT 743 in Chicago, organizing workers in Montgomery Ward in 1953 and fighting against racial and gender discrimination on the national and local level throughout her life. CLUW established an award recognizing State President(s) that best emulate her life and presenting to those honored at biennial conventions.
Denise McLain (AFSCME) received the Gloria Johnson Scholarship that promotes a mentoring relationship with a young woman.
l-r Clara Day Award Recipients and Officers: Nat’l Treas. Judy Beard, Mary Groves, Angela Ferritto, Veronica Johnson and Barb Young, Presidents of MI Capitol Area and Genesee County Chapters accepting on behalf of Stephanie Thornton, Robbie Robertson, Sheila Dawkins-Finn, Trustee of the NE OH Chapter accepting for Davida Russell and Nat’l Pres. Elise Bryant
Denise McLain receives the Gloria Johnson Scholarship
Wednesday, 11/20/2019, is Latina Equal Pay Day that marks the date when Latina women’s earnings catch up to those of non-Hispanic white men from the previous year. It is an outrage how much hard earned pay is lost to the wage gap. Did you know: if the gender pay gap does not improve, Latina women will continue to lose $28,036 every year, and $1,121,440 over the course of a 40-year career. We need to press Congress to pass laws aimed at closing this unfair and discriminatory pay gap!
The Paycheck Fairness Act is one such law that addresses this issue directly by amending the equal pay provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to close loopholes that have allowed pay discrimination to continue for far too long. Additionally the Raise The Wage Act would also significantly diminish the wage gap by increasing the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 per hour by 2025 and phasing out the exceptions that leave many tipped workers, young people, and those with disabilities making a subminimum wage. Since Latinas are overrepresented in minimum and subminimum wage jobs, passing both of these acts is vital to creating a more equitable future.
This Latina Equal Pay Day there will be many opportunities to help raise awareness about the wage gap for Latina women. Please visit https://www.latinaequalpay.org/ for the best information on how to get involved, including taking part in the National Summit in Washington DC. Please get involved by sharing the sample social media posts below:
- The wage gap means less money for necessities like groceries and rent. Latina women can't wait any longer to close the #WageGap. #LatinaEqualPay #DemandMore
- Collective bargaining is an important tool to close the gender wage gap. All workers deserve the right to join a union to be afforded better working conditions & equal opportunities. Organize, mobilize, resist! #LatinaEqualPay #Trabajadoras #1u
- #LatinaEqualPay Day represents the approximate extra time that Latinas must work in the current year to make the same amount of money white, non-Hispanic men did in the previous year. Over the course of a 40-year career, Latinas will be denied over a million dollars in earnings because of the gender wage gap. Let's fight for equal wages and put an end to the inequality that #Trabajadoras face.
- A report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that Latina union members were paid $12,220 more than non-unionized Latina workers in 2018. My union fights for equal pay! #LatinaEqualPay
- More than half of Latina mothers are breadwinners in families with children under 18. Eliminating the #wagegap would provide much-needed income to Latinas whose wages sustain their households. #LatinaEqualPay #DemandMore
- Farmworker women already toil on difficult, laborious tasks in agricultural fields to barely make ends meet. To make matters worse, they are often paid on their husband’s paychecks. They deserve equal pay for their work and their own paychecks. Join us on November 20th to demand #LatinaEqualPay for all Latina women, in all job sectors.
- If the annual wage gap were eliminated, a Latina working in the US would have enough money to pay for almost two additional years of tuition and fees for a four-year public university, or the cost of tuition and fees for a 2-year community college. #LatinaEqualPay #DemandMore
For more information on how the pay gap affects women please see this factsheet from News Guild that details the differences unions can make in closing the pay gap. The National Women’s Law Center has also put together a full document of information about stats specifically related to Latina women that you can find here.