Teamster Women in the Spotlight at Annual Conference


The 2016 Teamsters Women’s Conference wrapped up its final day in Hollywood, Calif., on Saturday with an address from Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Garcetti proudly wore a Teamsters jacket as he addressed the crowd of more than 1,300 Teamster women from throughout the U.S, Canada and Puerto Rico.

Garcetti called the Teamster women “stars,” referencing the location of the conference and the theme of the conference, “Lights, Camera…Teamster Women in Action.”

“You are the stars; you are fighting to make sure that, in the public sector and the private sector, putting in an honest day’s work forward should be rewarded,” Garcetti said. “I believe in your mission, your progress and I believe in the sisters of the Teamsters.”

Norma Lopez, a business agent for Teamsters Local 952 in Orange, Calif., talked about how Teamsters are ensuring workers are protected and rewarded for their hard work. Members of Local 952 at Kraft Heinz in Fullerton, Calif., recently reached a deal with the company to keep the plant open, after initial plans the company had made to close the facility. The local and members were not only able to protect jobs, but won a contract. The three-year agreement includes wage increases, health plan improvements and a bonus.

“We were able to save 350 mostly Teamster women jobs,” Lopez said.

Getting Involved

Laurie Antonin, National representative for  Anti-Racism and Human Rights with the Canadian Labour Congress, urged younger Teamsters to get involved, and for other members to support and mentor the next generation.

“We need to reach out and start talking with younger workers about the value of the union,” Antonin said.

Canadian Teamsters with Local 855 in Newfoundland, Canada, gave a compelling presentation on the pervasiveness of mental health issues, and their campaign to end the stigma. The Teamsters Canada Youth Committee and Teamsters Canada have launched a campaign for mental health awareness and education. To find out more, visit their website, www.makeitmandatory.ca.

Teamsters are also getting involved in communities through the International Teamsters Women’s Caucus. Betty Rose Fischer, principal officer of Local 538 in Pennsylvania, announced the results of the annual school supply drive. In addition to supplies, the caucus collected $2,266 and counting from Teamsters to benefit the Samuel Gompers Middle School in Los Angeles.

Over $15,000 and counting was collected during the conference to support brothers with the Electrical Trades Union in Australia who are on strike at SAB Miller, which will become part of InBev, following the upcoming merger.

View more highlights from the 2016 Teamsters Women’s Conference on Twitter and Instagram @Teamsters, #teamsterwomen, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.

The 2017 Teamsters Women’s Conference will be held in San Antonio, Texas.