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  • 2018 Working Women's Award Celebration

    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.”

    Connie Leak, Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, recent past CLUW president and long time UAW member emphasized that, “As a lifetime member of CLUW, I pledge to fight for those who do not have economic security, who do not have a voice at work or safety on the job. I will encourage them to join a union and to join CLUW.”..

    Judy Beard, CLUW’s National Treasurer and Legislative and Political Director of APWU received the Outstanding  Achiever Award. She described a time when in order to run for national APWU office she was required to resign from her staff position, but during her campaign she had the support on a daily basis from APWU Secretary-Treasurer Liz Powell. She went on to relay that, “When we lift people up, we have to make sure they have everything they need to survive … People in this country should have everything they need.  We are the 99% and we should demand what we need….We are going to win social justice in this country.”   

    Susan L. Phillips (UFCW), past CLUW President was honored with the Appreciation Award and addressed the current epidemic of sexual harassment that permeates all organizations.  She spoke about being hopeful that young people will be those that make a difference, urging men to challenge other men on their bad behavior. She ended her remarks by reminding those assembled “that sisterhood is powerful.”

    Karina R. Lopez, Civil Rights and Community Action (UFCW) in accepting the Rising Star Award acknowledged her mentors (Esther López and Robin Williams (UFCW) who were present to honor her) and promised to pave the way for those that come behind.  She cited the needs of paid sick leave, paid family medical leave, access to voting rights  as examples of what needs to be accomplished but cannot be achieved alone.    

    To find out more about the award winners you can check out the full program here. You can hear and see the program thanks to the video by Tanya Hutchins of IAM's which may be viewed here.

    Award honorees above: Top l - r: Dora Cervantes (IAM), Connie Leak (UAW); center: Elissa McBride (AFSCME), Judy Beard (APWU); bottom: Susan Phillips (UFCW) with Pres. Bryant and Karina Lopez (UFCW)

    Page Last Updated: May 29, 2018 (05:31:15)
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