Uniting to fight, uniting to organize: Day Two of the Women’s Conference
Day two of the conference kicked off with several fantastic speakers who shared their experiences and path in the labour movement. It was an uplifting morning leaving attendees energized and inspired to take action.
One particularly inspiring speaker shared her story of growing up in the Southern United States during segregation. Her innate sense of justice and fairness started young, as one particular event set her on a course that would define her life. As a young girl she went into a shop to purchase a “sarsaparilla”, a soft drink, and was told to drink it quickly because she wasn’t allowed to be there. This experience left an indelible mark, as the fight for fairness and equity became central themes and values. She would later become a city councilor advocating for all those who did not have a voice to advocate for themselves.
The theme of the morning session was organizing and what women bring to it that is different than men. Canada’s own Kim Valiere, and Tania Caniff participated sharing their experiences with organizing. Gabriele Rogano, an organizer from the United States, said that, “women bring a sense of intimacy that men stay away from”, which gives women an upper hand. Women are natural nurturers, and as Tania Caniff said, “women are able to have conversations about a person’s whole life, not just about workplace issues.”
The presenters imparted an important point; women have played a critical part in organizing drives and have made the IAM the leading union in organizing in 2018 in the United States. Women’s ability to engage is a definite asset and advantage in the world of organizing.
The conference wraps up on Saturday, April 6th, 2019.
IAM Canadian Research Director