More than a thousand union women and men - delegates and observers to the Coalition of Labor Union Women's 9th convention - met in Seattle Nov. 6-9. Building on the theme that "women are labor's future," delegates reinforced CLUW's campaign against child labor and sweatshops, called for initiatives supporting pay equity, quality health care and fairness for welfare recipients, and put special focus on young workers.
President Gloria Johnson recounted CLUW's challenges and achievements over the past two years, reminding delegates that "we were there," whether the fight was over welfare reform, sweatshops, pay inequity or domestic violence. CLUW is preparing for its 25th anniversary, which will take place in 1999.
CLUW's top officers, including Treasurer Lela Foreman, who heads CWA's Women's and Community Services Activities, were re-elected to two-year terms. CWA's delegation to the CLUW convention included nearly 50 women and men, many of whom hold major office in their local CLUW chapters. Many of those chapters put special emphasis on programs to help battered women and end domestic violence in addition to emphasizing education, union solidarity actions and a range of women's issues. The convention made a $3,500 contribution to the Noel House, a Seattle shelter for battered and homeless women.
Among the speakers were former Texas Gov. Ann Richards; Charles Kernaghan of the National Labor Committee; Linda Chavez-Thompson, AFL-CIO executive vice president; Ida Castro, director of the Labor Department's Women's Bureau; and Rep. James McDermott (D-Wash.).
Gillian Ohlson, representing the Communications Workers Union, COSATU, South Africa, was among the international speakers.