Every summer for 30 years, women union members, staffers, and leaders have come together to participate in the weeklong Northeast Regional Summer School for Union Women, sponsored by the United Association for Labor Education, the AFL-CIO, and the Coalition of Labor Union Women. This year, Local 802 sent two staff members, Senior Representative Lynne Bond and Senior Organizer Summer Smith.
The 140 participants came from unions across the Northeast, including many New York City unions, to engage in leadership workshops and classes with some of the most prominent women in the labor movement. Workshops such as “Women Organizing for Economic Justice” looked at the specific impact of our nation’s and the world’s economy on women, and participants explored issues such as comparable worth, unpaid work, government and business representation, as well as NAFTA and CAFTA.
One of the most essential and thought-provoking courses offered was “Win and Build: Political Education and Mobilization for the Long Haul.” Reviewing the long-term plan that conservatives put in place starting with Barry Goldwater’s defeat in 1964 and examining its terrible effects today, the workshop made it clear that workers and unionists need to reclaim our liberal beliefs, learn how to communicate those beliefs to a society in such a way that they can’t be denied and most importantly have a long-term vision and strategy for realizing a free and equal society.
Beyond the teaching, learning, strategizing and discussions, the summer program affords the opportunity for participants to feel how each woman’s work and union is part of a broader labor movement. 802 members who are interested in participating in next year’s Summer School for Union Women should contact Lynne Bond (ext. 158) or Summer Smith (ext. 186) at (212) 245-4802.