In August, Caucus Chair, Local 601 Executive Secretary Valerie King, and Co-Chair, Local 1-2 Shop Steward Ursula Grant, attended the 39th United Auto Workers Union Women’s Conference at the Walter and May Reuther Family Education Center in Black Lake, MI. It was an engaging, influential, and motivating week of learning, and sisterhood!
Action Plan/Next Steps
“The conference provided an encouraging, insightful environment for women and men to become aware of core issues that women face, the importance of activism, the decline in unionism, the increase in social inequality, and how economic and judicial realities impact the lives of women and their families,” said King. “It fueled our proposed ‘Action Plan’ and ‘Next Steps’ presentation which provides a model for UWUA locals to implement or re-energize their Women’s Committee.”
“There are many causes we can attack, and working together, we can make a strong mark on a lot of them,” says Alicia Dennis, Local 223’s Women’s Committee director and Gas Division recording secretary. Her Women’s Committee was dormant for several years. But she, along with her committee consisting of 12 members (10 women and 2 men), accepted the challenge to reconvene. They are now making an impactful difference by organizing solidarity events such as a unity boat ride, a Halloween theme meet and greet, an all day shopping trip, a botanical gardens outing, community outreach to the homeless, and health and educational workshops.
In the upcoming year, the committee is planning to have a Breast Cancer Awareness Masquerade Ball and donate the proceeds for the cure of this awful disease that has plagued so many.
Laurel Brennan, secretary-treasurer of the NJ State AFL-CIO, has invited King to present at the WILD (Women in Leadership Development) Conference in March. There, she will share the UWUA Women’s Caucus Action Plan and Next Steps presentation, and give a synopsis of the UWUA Women’s Caucus activities. The WILD Conference is held every year with the goal of uniting women within unions, building diversity, developing leadership skills, educating, and addressing issues pertaining to women.
“In order to empower UWUA women, we have to address women’s true priorities, create and support formal and informal programs, provide opportunities for women to strategize together, provide training for mobilizing, highlight women’s accomplishments, and provide flexible options for involvement. Think solidarity! Our time is now, Sisters!” says King.