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ALL WOMEN’S CONFERENCE – WASHINGTON D.C. JULY 21 – 24

Heidi Northrup and I were chosen to attend the All Women’s Conference in Washington D.C.

2010 is the year of the women

The Theme of the conference was Sisters in Solidarity. – Women activists take union across generations. – solidarity the feeling or expression of union in a group formed by a common interest.

Wednesday was the international office tour where we were able to visit the district office. We were quite pleased to be able to go right up to the 11th floor and actually go in and speak with President Hill.


Wednesday evening we were all invited back to the Union office where we attended a reception on the roof top of the IBEW Building. What a view from the top. You could see a view of the city from high up, quite breath taking.


We visited the Museum downstairs at the Union Office which was quite impressive.


Conference was all about Promoting Women’s participation and leadership in the IBEW and was based on interviews with female activists from the around the country. In the interviews they discussed why women’s leadership is important to the labour movement, as well as the obstacles to women’s leadership. Coalescing with Community and faith based allies: Everyone talked about the importance of working in coalition with community groups, interfaith allies, and others. The workshop discussed what coalitions are and why they are important as well as our natural allies who we should reach out to and involve in our political, organizing and other work. Navigating tough economic times: Through the AFL-CIO community service network, union members help serve our sisters and brothers stricken by natural disasters, financial hardship, illness, unemployment, or other difficulties. The workshop explored assistance options for struggling union familes from the community service program and the new union safe umbrella of assistance benefits through union plus, a program of union privilege. The Politics of Solidarity: discussed the importance of getting involved with politics and why we should make such an effort to talk to the members about politics. Recognizing and remedying sexual harassment: Sexual harassment is dehumanizing and divisive and has no place in our unions or our workplace. IBEW addressed the issues of sexual harassment and


what you can do about it as an employee, union member, job steward, or local union business manager. Occupational Safety and Health update: The new administration has enlisted new safety advocates into key leadership positions.

Engaging Young Workers in the Future: twenty five percent of union members are age 35 and under. What do you know about this generation of IBEW members, and equally important what do they know about the IBEW. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Most workers want to belong to a union – and women are more likely to join a union if the lead organizer is a woman. – Spoke about the Berger-marks foundation where the mission is to bring the benefits of unionization to working women and provide resources, training and financial assistance to women organizers. Three most important issues facing women in the United States that if resolved would be transformative for Country are 1) fair wages...being said for example white color women get paid 77cents on the dollar less than men; black women get paid 64 cents on dollar less than men and the Spanish women get paid 55 cents on the dollar less then men. Congress Woman Rosa DeLauro – third district of Connecticut is working hard at changing the difference in the salary making all women equal pay no matter what color as well as getting them equal pay for doing the same job as a man. Another example: Walmart men are making 19% more than the women doing the same job. More Men are losing their jobs in the industry and more women have to work longer . There will be a challenge in the coming years. ---looking at the “Pay check fairness Act” . Woman believe that IBEW stands for “ I believe in the Equality of Women”. Liz Shuler – AFL/CIO spoke about the need for public policies – paid leave – employers need to change with the times. Employers not paying for sick leave, they want flexible shifts – Ed Hill the international President has championed the cause for women. O”Bama is looking to rebuild the second class citizens. Encouraging other women to join unions; good pay and good benefits. Women will vote for unions if given a chance. Encourage other women in the workforce to join unions – acknowledge younger workers – 1 in 3 still live at home. – Young workers need a union – with a code of excellence – for high quality work. The united states in the next election are trying to stop the lay off’s of teachers, police officers; and fire figthters The United states is now in a recession.

President Hill was a guest speaker at the convention – he spoke about how he brought the trades together to do quality work. IBEW has a great reputation. Spoke highly of Borac O’Bama and how


he’s doing great work . President Hill says he would like to see a better nation, better union and a better world. Need to build a stronger movement. Real leadership takes more than just money, it takes courageous women to take charge and mentor. All members have something to contribute – need to reach out and recruit more women – they are a stronger movement.

Sarah Manzano Diaz – Labour Womens Bureau – is also part of the equal pay task force. That women should not be discriminated in regards to wages. Its a big family issue. Sarah is also working on green economy , higher paying jobs and environmental protection. <<She spoke about homeless women 6500 women are homeless and suffer from post dramatic stress, some are sexually assaulted and some take to drugs and alcohol. Women are undervalued. Need to be more respected and treated equal.

Code of excellence: The American plan. Stand together and better ourselves – fair days work for a fair days pay. Always striving to get to their full potential. Build relationships with customers – value of the union workforce Value of the union – workforce – old plan -

More productive work place

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On time on budget

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Drug & alcohol free

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Bad previous experience

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Less productive

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Too expensive

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Have for poor workers

New Plan - »Most skilled Most highly trained Safest Most productive In one word - ``professional` - everyone has to be on board<<<


Sense of pride of professionalism.

Why code of excellence: Promotes IBEW as professionalism Improved perception of the IBEW by employers and customers Enhanced competiveness

NON-UNION – lot of work is being done by non-union contractors- construction , electrical etc . we drive by and ignore it. IBEW needs to do something about it. IBEW is in a mess today!

I attended the conference Surviving debt in todays economy: Lot of financial stress: Health is affected – 40%; losing sleep 33%`slipping meals 25%`eat poorly 50% and alcohol 20% Foreclosure in housing – 3.9 million in 2010 & 2.8 in 2009 New credit card reality – harder to qualify; annual fee and other fees; variable rates; fewer balance transfer offers. Credit card act: Prevents rate increases on existing balances. Overlimit and late fee protection disclosure – time and cost to pay off debt. Talked about credit scores and how their determined.

Engaging your workers for the future:


The young workers don’t know anything about the union. Radio and media are saying that unions are destroying the economy. Key reasons for this are: 1) Lack of education about unions 2) Seen as less than 3) Union made up of a more established worker – need more fresh ideas 4) What to know and how to connect to a new generation 5) Need to plan for future of union successor ship planning 6) Educate the young and get out of their way 7) How do i get the young involved 8) Members share value of being a union member to their children 9) Turnover of young workers - help them stay employed 10) Develop trust between generations

Objective: Engage in an intergenerational dialogue; gain insight into who this new generation of worker/union member is. Portrait of a worker over 35 years old -Job issues; technology; family concerns; education; leadership/activism

Portrait of a worker under 35 years old -

Too hard to get in the union

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Not enough opportunities to lean on the job

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Want to start at the top.

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Technology is way ahead of most of us

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Family/parenthood – younger generation is still living with their parents


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Education is not taken seriously – don’t want to go

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Leadership – they believe they’re very enthusiastic

The Senior Generation: Job issues: Ethics; attitude; technology; texting but can’t spell properly IPOD safety – walking with their heads down all the time..not watching We need to provide our younger generation with mentorship. They need to be told the rules up front. The Youth Generation: start work too early; too strict in the rules; know it all; trust issues;

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to attend this conference. I was able to meet some great Members from around the world, and was able to hear their amazing stories of how they strived to get to the top of their careers. I left there with a huge amount of enthusiasm and the drive to accomplish great things. I’ve learned you can do whatever you set your mind to do. Don’t be afraid to fail take risks and work hard to succeed.

Wanda Hierlihy E-Board Member – Northern Region

Report on 2003 IBEW International Womens Conference  

Report on 2003 IBEW International Womens Conference

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