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Shaping the Future Together: Teamsters Women’s Conference Day Two


On a busy second day in Montreal, Teamster women spent the day engaging and learning with their sisters at the various workshops held. 

From “Building a Member Army” and “The Mathematics of Collective Bargaining” to “Solutions in the Bus Industry,” there was no shortage of workshops for women to share and exchange knowledge and tools to bring back to their local unions and workplaces. 

“For me, ‘I Am Not Hysterical’ was an amazing workshop,” said Abigail Baker from Local 89 in Louisville, Ky. “It’s important to talk about mental health in the workplace, especially as women, and that workshop was perfect to have those discussions.” 

“This is my first Women’s Conference,” said Whitney Davis from Local 519 in Knoxville, Tenn. “I’m a UPS-er and the workshop dedicated for UPS folks was important. It’s important to get as many updates and as much information as possible.” 

Workshops are not only a way for Teamster women to share updates, fresh ideas and resources with each other, but to inspire them. 

“It’s so great to come here and learn so much,” said Maria Solorio-Cortez, a member of Local 890 in Salinas, Calif. “It’s wonderful to get new ideas and to see what different things everyone is doing. We’re learning so much that we’re going to put to use at our local.” 

“I’m so excited to come here and learn so many new things,” said Maria Sanchez also of Local 890. “I want so many women to be able to come here and learn all the things that we’ve been doing. It’s so encouraging and inspiring to see what Teamster women can get done!” 

Workshops will continue through the last day of the Women’s Conference. 

Teamster Women Close Out Another Successful Conference 

After three days spent in sisterhood in Montreal, the Teamsters Women’s Conference came to a close. 

At a closing session, sisters gathered back in the ballroom of Le Centre Sheraton and reflected on the last few days spent together in Teamster solidarity and unity. 

Kim Keller, Deputy Director of the Teamsters Organizing Department, shared updates and how women organizers are making their mark across various organizing campaigns. 

Georgia Richie shared her story of starting out as a port worker at the Ports of L.A. and Long Beach and a member of Local 848, attending an Organizing 101 training and falling in love with organizing then. 

“If you want change you have to be part of the change. We are all able to help each other with education. When Teamster women fight, Teamster women win,” Richie said. 

Lani Richardson started out working at UC Davis and as a member of Local 2010 in California. She now helps organize at UC campuses across California. 

“We as members should not hesitate in sharing the benefits that being Teamsters has brought our lives and our families. We need to be the spark for others. UC workers need a Teamster contract now,” Richardson said. 

Updates from Tia Davis of Local 570 and Blanca Aguilar of Local 986 highlighted organizing gains in both the school bus and casino industries. 

“We’ve come a long way dealing with the bus industry,” Davis said. “They should have the voice they need and the support they need on the job. We as Teamsters need to stand behind them. Let‘s be the spark that they need and support our bus drivers.” 

Teamster women are out in the trenches organizing workers with success every day. 

“Organizing is the lifeblood of our union and we are all organizers,” said Cathy Rapp, Assistant Director of the Teamsters Organizing Department. 

The session closed out strong with the announcement of a new Teamsters Women’s Advisory Board. Also, Nathaly Guillemmette educated the audience about violence against women in the workplace and how unions provide protection in ways where the law does not. 

“Violence in the workplace has caught the attention of men and women in our union, and unions play an important role of breaking that cycle of violence against women in the workplace by educating the membership, business agents and stewards, and holding the employer accountable,” Guillemmette said. 

Dennis Hower, Director of the Teamsters Training and Development Department and President of Local 773, gave an update on his fight for breast cancer awareness and announced that after raising more than $40,000, he will get a breast cancer awareness tattoo with the initials of the highest donors. 

“This year I’m setting a vicious goal of $100,000. Breast cancer research is very important,” Hower said. 

There was also an emotional moment followed by an act of solidarity for one Teamster woman whose family was gravely impacted by Hurricane Dorian, which hit the Bahamas earlier this month. Pat Thomas from Local 705 lost more than a dozen family members to the devastation, leaving her in emotional and financial debt. However, the Teamster women in the audience let her know she is not alone and that they have her back, raising $5,000 in a matter of minutes. 

It is the inspiring stories told throughout the three-day conference that show the strength and the unrelenting tenacity of Teamster women. And it shows that when women come together, they are unstoppable.