Earlier this month, ten Teamsters 856 members traveled to Victoria, British Columbia Canada to take part in the Summer
Institute for Union Women where they spent an intensive week taking core classes, attending seminars and working with women from across the world to advance the labor movement.
This year’s theme was “Women Working Together” and the classes and workshops focused on building support systems to strengthen unions.
“I bonded with a lot of wonderful women whom I created a support group with, “said Marin General Hospital Shop Steward Tita Shepherd. “Together Women Win!” she said.
Hertz Oakland Shop Steward Alicia James agrees.
“I’ve always enjoyed meeting new people and found that having deep conversations of the difference in cultural and social views are always interesting, however after interacting with so many different women and their perspective of social concerns, the realization of how much we are really alike I found completely amazing,” said James.
The classes and workshops also provided skills and strategies to assist fellow members at their worksites back home.
“The knowledge I gained from the conference will give me an edge in managing conflict as a shop steward,” said Shepherd.
San Francisco Zoo Member Colette Chiparo was impressed with one class in particular.
“The Bullying and Harassment in the Workplace class was absolutely the best part of the Summer Institute for Union Women,” said Chiparo.
“I now have the information about what is bullying and harassment, how to best deal with it and most importantly the support of my fellow sisters to tackle this difficult issue,” said Chiparo.
The Teamsters 856 delegation not only grew together academically, but also grew together as union sisters.
“The short workshops are great tools in understanding women’s roles in our community–how we have to be proactive in fighting for our rights, said Shepherd.
“I’ve learned that no matter which country you are currently residing, women want affordable child care, livable (equal) wages, a strong sense of community and most of all women want a voice,” said James.
Teamsters 856 has sent a delegation to the SIUW each year since 2012.
“I am deeply appreciative of our members who dedicated their time to attend the Summer Institute for Union Women on behalf of Teamsters 856,” said Peter Finn, Secretary-Treasurer/Principal Officer.
“This is the third consecutive year that Teamsters 856 has had a presence at the SIUW, and I continue to be impressed with our members’ passion and enthusiasm. Activism and engagement such as this has an immeasurable effect on keeping our union strong,” Finn said.
“As we get caught up at our own worksites it’s often easy to forget that we are part of a larger union, and while we might not see each other every day we do have the support of each other whenever we need it,” said Teamsters 856 Political Director Trish Suzuki, who traveled to the SIUW with the delegation.
“It was an amazing week with inspiring women,” said Chiparo.
Thank you Teamsters 856 SIUW Attendees!
Debra Caison, UPS
Elizabeth De La Campa, City of Concord
Colette Chiparo, San Francisco Zoo
Doris Garcia, Carcione’s Fresh Produce
Alicia James, Hertz Car Rental
Cindy Maddan, UPS
Judy Rodrigues, St. Rose Hospital
Kathleen Romero, Westin Market Street
Tita Shepard, Marin General Hospital
Joan Wyman, Golden Gate Bridge Highway & Transportation District