Nearly 25 Machinists Union members made their voices heard at the 20th Biennial Convention of the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW) in Las Vegas last week. The theme for the convention was “Sisters Not Afraid of Power: Coming Together to Change the World!” Eleven members traveled from District 751 in the Seattle area of Washington State. Several of the attendees were first-time attendees and many hold positions in their local CLUW Chapters.
Machinists delegates not only showed up, they participated in every aspect of the convention. Assistant Legislative Director Monica Lee Silbas and IAM District 751 Local C member Shari Boggs, both Veterans, served in the color guard. District 751 Local E member Linda Ramos and Local 86 members Kenya Conway were timekeepers while Conway also participated in the choir. District 751 Local C members Ariel McKenzie and Juanita (Maggie) Cook escorted Speakers Liz Shuler and Dolores Huerta to the stage. District 751 members Regina Fountain (Local F), Michelle Jackson (Local C), and Carolyn Romeo (Local F) carried the IAM Banner. IAM Communications Representative Tanya Hutchins and District 751 Local A member Kristi Kidrick carried the Chesapeake Bay Chapter Banner, and District 751 Local F member Terry Myette served on the Credentials Committee.
Many of the sisters spoke on various resolutions and proposed by-laws changes. Ariel McKenzie wrote an amendment to the climate change resolution to include job protection in the process of addressing climate change that was included in the final resolution.
Delegates heard from such speakers as AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer, Liz Shuler, Dolores Huerta, United Farm Workers Co-Founder and Founder of the Dolores Huerta Foundation and Linda Chavez-Thompson, retired Executive Vice President of the AFL-CIO, among others. Founded in 1974, the Coalition of Labor Union Women is America’s only national organization for union women and has four goals: organize the unorganized; promote affirmative action; increase women’s participation in unions; and increase women’s participation in political and legislative activities. Members plan to meet again in the Spring at CLUW’s National Executive Board meeting.