March is Women’s History Month and March 8 marks International Women’s Day. The Teamsters Union honors women’s accomplishments during this month, while championing progress and celebrating women’s achievements year-round.
Teamster women are strong and committed to improving the lives and working conditions of all workers. Throughout the Teamsters’ 115-year history, women have played a critical role in the fight for justice. Whether marching in the streets for workers’ rights or taking their message to statehouses, Teamster sisters have always fought and continue to press forward for social and economic justice.
Over the past century, the Teamsters Union has voiced the slogan of “equal pay for all.” Teamsters stand for equal pay, and the union’s contracts are gender and color-blind. However, more work needs to be done in the world at large.
The July 1917 issue of the Teamster Magazine stated, “Equal pay for equal work should become a constant, vigorous slogan among all employees in all crafts. The strength and brains of women and girls are exploited the world over and especially so in the United States.”
After Women’s History Month has concluded, April 10 will mark Equal Pay Day. This day signifies how far into the year women must work in the United States to earn what men earned in the previous year.
Organizing would help overcome that gap. Women in unions earn over $200 more per week than nonunion women. They also are more likely to have paid health care, retirement, vacation and a safer workplace. It holds true that workers of all genders benefit from union membership.
Not pleased with this, corporate-funded anti-union front groups and multimillionaires have waged war on working people. The Supreme Court is currently hearing the Janus vs. AFSCME case. A decision in favor of Janus would hurt public employees, many of whom are women. The Economic Policy Institute found that African American women would suffer most from an anti-union decision in Janus, since they make up 18 percent of public employees.
Anyone who has followed the news in the past year has witnessed a growing movement of women who are making their voices heard, calling for respect and equality, and organizing around the elimination of unfair treatment.
Teamsters know best that engagement is how change takes place. Teamsters are busy standing up in their roles as shop stewards, mentoring coworkers, rallying around workforce issues and human rights issues, joining committees, getting involved in their communities and running for political office.
At the annual Teamsters Women’s Conference in San Antonio in September, more than a thousand Teamsters gathered with the spirit of taking action. The conference slogan was “Teamster Women Spur Change,” because that’s what Teamster women do.
As we look to the past this month, we remain focused on the future, and the role that Teamster sisters, along with their Teamster brothers, play to ensure a brighter future for all workers.