We’ve come a long way but we’re not there yet!
Toronto, ON – Ask any Canadian IAM sister what she wants her union to obtain for all women in Canada and she will give you a very thorough answer. How about job security and protection through the elimination of outsourcing? Or the guarantee that all persons have the right to employment which provides for dignity and respect within their communities and their workplace. Respect within the workplace isn’t some lofty goal, it should be a given, we should expect no less. However it has been an uphill struggle for women not only in their workplace but within their own union. IAM Grand Lodge Representative for Women’s Issues, Heather Kelley will never forget the first time she was denied a promotion simply because she was a woman. She filed a grievance with her IAM Local Lodge in Fort Erie and it was met with stiff resistance and traditional attitudes of the day, from her employer and her union. She won that grievance and she has been fighting for women’s rights ever since.
Kelley is a tireless advocate for women, insisting they be recognized as equals and that they must be treated with fairness and respect, which must be enshrined through adequate and enforceable measures. Her union in 1996 formed its Women’s Department and women were shortly afterward elected to IAM Executive Council for the first time. More and more, women’s issues are finding their way to the bargaining table…..we’ve come a long way but we’re not there yet!