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October 25, 2014

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Union Women and the Feminist Movement: Telling Untold Stories

St. Louis, Mo. – "If you don’t know where you come from, you don’t know where you are going,” was an observation consistently made by the late Addie Wyatt, a founder and Executive Vice President Emerita of the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW). 

Wyatt, a long-time leader of the United Packing House Workers in Chicago, would have been proud to witness a recent Veteran Feminists of America conference celebrating the inter-related histories of the feminist movement and the labor movement -- a conference where CLUW Chicago President Katie Jordan, a friend and colleague, spoke about Sister Addie Wyatt’s contributions.

Moderated by VFA chair and NOW co-founder Muriel Fox, the panel also included stories about Caroline Davis and Dorothy Haener (UAW) and Catherine Conroy (CWA) also founding members of the National Organization for Women (NOW). Conroy, an activist from Wisconsin, had said that she often felt like she was “the token labor woman in the women’s groups and the token feminist at the union meetings.” Millie Jeffrey (UAW) was also honored.

Veteran Feminists of America is a volunteer group dedicated to preserving the history of “second wave” feminism, from the 1960s to 1975, including progress on reproductive rights, employment and education rights, and the equal rights amendment to the Constitution.  The VFA conference, “Labor & the Women’s Movement:  The Untold Story and Why It Matters,” was held in St. Louis Sept. 27th to celebrate the contributions of labor women and to chart a joint path forward.  

As we will see, “first wave” feminism focused mainly on suffrage ending with the nineteenth amendment in 1920 securing women’s right to vote. “Third wave” feminism” – which describes the movement’s present form – is built on these legal and institutional rights, but focusing on intersections between racial, economic, LGBTQ and gender justice, while adding social media to the mix.

A number of union women were recognized by the Veteran Feminists of America for their outstanding work.  Pictured from the left are CLUW members from the St. Louis Metro Chapter Marcia Cline, Alice Moore-Jones, Tina Hays and Carol Johnson.  Not pictured is another CLUW winner, Linda Whitley. Award recipient also not pictured is Mary Bennett, CLUW member from the Chicago Chapter.

Read the entire article by clicking here.

If Voter Registration is Still Taking Place in Your State CLUW Wants to Hear from You!

The Coalition of Labor Union Women is partnering with the League of Women Voters and is promoting Voter Registration for the 2014 Mid-Term Elections. We are requesting that you download the CLUW Voter Registration Report Form, complete it and scan it and E-mail it to as soon as voter registration ends in your state but no later than November 4th so that we can track the results of this information. This form is also available in the Member Resources - Downloads Section for all Registered Members.

CLUW National Executive Board Highlights

The Coalition of Labor Union Women held its National Executive Board Meeting in Baltimore.  We would like to thank the International Association of Machinist and Aerospace Workers (IAM) for making this CLUW Video possible. 

By Connie Leak President, Coalition of Labor Union Women Press Associates, Inc. Labor Day issue This Labor Day, your vote is critical to your future as never before.  And for working women the results of the November 2014 election will determine much about your life on and off the job.
CLUW Helps Train Next Generation of Union Women
 A popular button often seen at labor rallies and conferences reads, “A woman's place is in her union.” And as young activists go, Cody Beltrami is one member living out that sentiment.
Almost Evil

Labor is Largest Delegation at White House Working Families Summit: CLUW Plays Active Role in Pre-Summit ‘Speak Up!’ Event
More than 1,000 people were in attendance at the White House Summit on Working Families on June 23, which was convened to start an important conversation about issues affecting working families:  accessing good jobs, raising the minimum wage, creating flexible schedules, securing paid family leave, providing quality affordable child care.

The 250 representatives from organized labor and worker centers made up the largest delegation there – which was obvious every time someone on the stage or at a mike said the word “union” or “collective bargaining.”

The day before, labor/work center delegates gathered at the AFL-CIO headquarters for a Labor Speak Up!” event that provided an opportunity for delegates to share their stories both formally and informally about work and work-life issues and the value of a union and a collective bargaining agreement –especially for women and families. 

See photo below of CLUW Delegation.  Read more by clicking here.

White House Summit Focuses on Issues Important to Working Women and Families

The 250+ union delegation (out of 1,000 in attendance) was the biggest delegation at Monday’s White House Summit.  This fact was obvious each time reference was made to unions or collective bargaining . The “official” CLUW delegation was small, due to limited tickets available, however, there were many CLUW members in attendance, representing their respective union. Here is a photo of the CLUW delegation. From the left, front – Vice Pres. Elisa Riordan (CWA), Vice Pres. Carolyn J. Williams (IBEW), Membership Coord. Karen See (APWU);  back row -- Exec. Vice Pres. Dolores Gorczyca (IFPTE), CLUW Pres. Connie Leak (UAW), Vice Pres. Sarah Reynolds (ATU), Special Asst. to the Pres. Carolyn Jacobson (UAW). Read more by clicking here.

"Next Generation of IBEW Organizing" Features CLUW Women

This video entitled the "Next Generation of IBEW Organizing" shows the Youth Movement within IBEW Local 1245, in California. 

All of the women in this video are active members of the Central California Chapter of CLUW.  One of the members is Donchele Soper who was one of the participants in the Young Workers Panel at the 2013 CLUW Convention in Reno, Nevada. 

What's New
Paycheck Fairness Act is Coming to Vote - Immediate Action Needed
September 9, 2014: We have just learned that the Paycheck Fairness Act (new bill number is S.2199) will be coming to a vote this week – as early as tomorrow morning - in the Senate. The Paycheck Fairness Act would deter wage discrimination by closing loopholes in the Equal Pay Act and barring retaliation against workers who disclose their wages to coworkers. Read More...
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