The UAW held its 47th International Women’s Conference from August 6-11, 2023, at the Walter & May Reuther Family Education Center at Black Lake in Onaway, MI.
Delegates spent the week participating in various workshops, listening to the experiences and knowledge of guest speakers, and discussing how to further empower women in our union and workplaces.
During UAW Secretary-Treasurer Margaret Mock’s keynote Q&A session, she fielded questions from attendees and spoke about engaging her power by standing firm and doing what is right for the membership. She also recounted her personal journey during her time in the UAW and offered encouragement to delegates.
“You are powerful beyond measure,” said Mock, who is also Director of the Women’s Department. “You have the ability to create change, inspire others, and make a difference in the world. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t achieve your dreams or that your voice doesn’t matter. Your voice is powerful. Your presence matters.”
Throughout the week, delegates participated in various workshops and discussions meant to further attendees’ knowledge and understanding on a number of important topics and issues facing women. Understanding Bargaining and Strikes, Understanding Our Bias through Our Solidarity, Effective Union Meetings, and UAW Constitution were just a few of the workshops offered to delegates during the week.
Elisa Bryant, President of the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW), was a guest speaker at this year’s conference. Sister Bryant spoke about the importance of women engaging their power.
Regions led daily activities during the conference to keep delegates active and engaged. There were also themed days: Represent Your Region Day, T-shirt Day (Engaging Your Power Day), Red Shirt Day, and Rosie Day in honor of the iconic Rosie the Riveter.
Region 2B received the Regional Activism Award at this year’s Women’s Conference. Delegates from Region 2B adopted the cause of “Women in Office” at the Region’s Women’s Conference last September with the goal of supporting women running for office at their local unions and in their communities.
Delegates phone banked, fund raised, worked polls, and went door-to-door in neighborhoods to support women who were running for office. Some even chose to run for office themselves.
As a result of Region 2B’s dedication and hard work, twenty-seven women were elected to office at their respective Local Unions.
Francine Parker, Joan Patterson, and Miriam Poe were recipients of the Margaret Mock Lifetime of Service Award.
“Being here at Black Lake this week has made me even more proud,” UAW Local 1219 member Latina Walton said about her experience at this year’s conference. “I’ve never seen so many strong-minded women with their chests poked out, their heads held high. The confidence is beyond phenomenal.”
Other users read these articles next...