The Working Women’s Committee met on June 27th, 28th, and 29th in Islandia, New York, the Conference was hosted by Local 252, TWU Rail Division, and was attended by our Local 505 representative Leona Taylor. Committee Chair, Gwen York, called the meeting to order at 9:00am Tuesday morning and kicked off the 3-day Conference. Women and Men from all Divisions of the TWU representing many Locals participated.
The Committee discussed legislative and political issues lead by Gwen York. Suffolk County Legislator Kate Browning was a guest speaker, over her 12 years in office she advocated strongly for labor, youth, and environment rights and protection. The Committee also heard from guest speaker Vanessa Braxton. Ms. Braxton is the CEO/President of Black Momma Vodka and is the first African-American woman owner and operator of a nationally distributed vodka.
Not all activities took place around the table – Committee Members got out of the conference room, suited up for some Community Service. They stood in solidarity with our Teamster Brothers and Sisters, carrying signs of protest against Anheuser-Busch to end the strike along the roadway in Suffolk County.
Members also learned and practiced S.A.F.E, (security, awareness, fight, escape) in a Woman’s Self Defense skill building program. Community Service Project included roadside clean up !! Committee Members got out and got dirty hitting the highway to collect debris through the Adopt – A – Highway program supported by TWU Local 252.
Local 505 is proud to be a Member of the Working Women’s Committee, we support and encourage their social, educational, and political involvement for the improvement of all working women, men, and their families.
Local 505 was proud to participate in this year’s San Francisco Pride Parade. We marched with our brothers and sisters from Locals 556 and 250-A, followed by the TWU bus driven by Local 100. As one of over 240 contingents, it was an opportunity for our Local to support all people in this celebration of diversity demonstrating that love, peace, and resistance is necessary now more than ever.
Pride history began in the early hours of June 28, 1969 an NYPD raid on Greenwich Village’s Stonewall Inn sparked the Stonewall Riots, one of the first well-known instances of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rebellion against government-sponsored oppression of LGBT people. On the one-year anniversary of the riots, the first Pride marches were held in San Francisco, New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
This year marks the 47th continuous year of celebrating the LGBTQ community, and while San Francisco’s Pride festival is the largest event of the year, it’s also a platform for radical progression for LGBTQ rights. This year’s theme, "A celebration of diversity," is a response to last year's election, urging people to resist regression, stand up against exclusion, demand equality, and celebrate diversity.
Labor unions have long been champions of anti-discrimination language and policies and have often been on the forefront of the struggle for equal protections at work. The Transport Workers Union International passed a resolution at the 2013 Constitutional Convention that reads:
“NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the 24th Constitutional Convention of the Transport Workers Union of America, restates its historic stand against discrimination of any kind, as espoused in the preamble to the TWU Constitution; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that TWU will continue to support and work with Pride at Work, the official constituency group of the AFL-CIO, that strives for equality for LGBT workers; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that TWU shall press for the passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) on the federal level, as a necessary step to end discrimination against LGBT people in the workplace.”.
Local 505 is dedicated to upholding this resolution and standing up against all practices of discrimination.
Local 505 was proud to host the California State Conference at our Union Hall on June 27, 2017. TWU State Conferences are a way for all TWU locals in a region to come together to support a common agenda. Representatives from Local 250A, 502, 555, and 556 were present to share concerns and ideas.
According to recent reports (L.A. Times Jan. 30, 2017) California could play a central role in determining which political party will control the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018. Developing a strategy to ensure candidates are elected that share TWU values and support working families is a primary mission of the TWU California State Conference.
Reports were given by Andrew Rangolan (National Director) and Matt Hettich (CSC Chairperson), the agenda included discussion looking forward to 2018 elections. The Committee has adopted an election strategy that includes a Candidate Questionnaire so we may pre-vet potential candidates and give support to those who are in line with labor concerns.
We discussed legislative issues including H.R AIRR Act, H.R. 2150 “Flags of Convenience”, H.R. 785 “Right to Work”, and S.J 27 “Workplace Injury/Illness”. The topic of Kin Care and how it is applied in relation to HWHFA. American Airlines and Southwest Airlines are applying both laws concurrently when there is an absence from duty. This is coming to the arbitration arena in July driven by a grievance out of Local 555 in San Diego. The desired outcome would be a language change that would better define a separation between the two applications.
Every vote counts, so please make sure your voice is heard; get registered to vote and encourage others too. It may not seem that political on goings effect you – but they do; protect your rights and keep getting out the vote. We are all in this together, let’s make the TWU voice heard !!
The Today We Unite—I’m Ready To Fight effort is a project of TWU’s International Campaign Unit, our cross-divisional, cross-departmental strategic campaign department designed to take on the union’s biggest fights. It launched the internal organizing drive to generate support for the TWU bargaining teams at American Airlines, which have now been at the table with the company for over a year and a half. And while they've resolved a number of issues, there are still key areas of the contract that need to be addressed. Our bargaining committees show up at every bargaining session prepared and ready to work, but the company has shown no sense of urgency to finalize this contract. That is unacceptable.
So we’ll continue this campaign for as long as it takes, and we’ll keep our members up to date on all the ways they can keep the pressure on the airline. Stay tuned for more opportunities to take action, and in the meantime, keep taking these #TodayWeUnited photos and sharing them. Check out the slideshow on the International home page, our Flickr feed, and our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for all the photos.
The Today We Unite—I’m Ready To Fight
TWU sisters and brothers across divisions came to share ideas, strategies, stories and power this February/March; a three-day meeting was held in Washington D.C.. Present was our Local 505 representative Leona Taylor who is active with the WWC on an on-going basis. The WWC has taken on a number of important projects ranging from legislative and political action, organizing and training, community outreach, health and family issues. The WWC is an organization of Union women and men who ban together for networking, programs, education and leadership skill enrichment. The TWU International’s WWC comes together several times a year to report out on local progress and move forward on the year’s key platforms and agenda items, many of which complement some of TWU International’s overall goals and priorities.
This year’s focus was on Lobbying to support the reintroduction of PWFA (Pregnant Worker Fairness Act) to the 115th Congress. This important piece of legislation was introduced to the 114th Congress in 2014 as H.R. 2654 and S. 1512. The bill was co-sponsored by Rep. Jerry Nadler (New York-10) in the House and Bob Casey (D-Penn.) in the Senate, there were 180 bi-partisan co-sponsors.
The PWFA is being lobbied for many reasons, including: treating physical limitations related to pregnancy or childbirth in the same way that the ADA treats those with disabilities; prohibition of an employer from forcing a pregnant worker to go onto leave; making clear that an employer cannot discriminate against a pregnant worker who needs or asks for reasonable accommodations; and explain the benefits to the employer in the form of employee retention.
Local 505 Member Leona Taylor, and over 20 other TWU Committee Members hit the U.S. Capitol strongly and met directly with many of the U.S. Representatives both Democrats and Republicans to lobby PWFA. Leona met with U.S. Reps. Coffman (R-CO), Speier (D-CA), and Takono (D-CA) to spread the word and lobby for support of the PWFA bill. We at Local 505 are proud of Leona’s work and participation with other TWU Locals in showing our strength and unity on a national level.
Check out the WWC Facebook page for more information.