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  • Women Mar 09, 2017
    Women History Month
    by Tracy Reed

    March is Women’s History Month in the U.S.

    The Teamsters Union recognizes and celebrates women’s accomplishments year-round; however, during the month of March we have a special opportunity to highlight Teamster women and their achievements.

    Throughout our rich history, Teamster women have been engaged and active in their local unions and communities, helping to make a better life for all workers and their families. Teamster women have fought, and continue to fight for, social and economic justice for workers.

    Standing for Equality

    Teamsters stand up for equal pay, and the union’s contracts are gender-blind and color-blind. As far back as 1919, “Equal pay for all” was a slogan within the union, as Teamsters pushed for wage equality in the U.S. In 2017 nonunion women still make less on average than nonunion men performing the same job, and Teamsters are part of the continual effort to bridge that gap.

    As far back as 1916, Teamsters were empowering women workers. That year, the union was involved in a contract for women laundry workers in Chicago, helping the workers successfully organize and create their first all-women negotiating committee. They achieved equal pay for black and white women working in the laundries.

    In 1934, women played a key role in the historic and bloody Minneapolis strike, which changed the landscape for labor and established the National Labor Relations Board.

    During World War II, women worked in production, transportation and other critical industries.

    After the war, women were active in the Teamsters’ DRIVE program, bringing their political power to the halls of Congress, and championing important labor issues.

    Looking Ahead

    Today, in 2017 Teamster women work in any number of industries. More women are joining the trades, working in construction, maintaining airplanes, driving trucks, hauling cement and working in disaster relief, in addition to hundreds of other critical lines of work. They are also rising up through the ranks in the union and taking on key leadership roles.

    A report released by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research confirmed what we all know—that women in unions earn more and have better benefits and workplace protections than women without a union. More women than ever are in the workforce and more are joining unions.

    March may be Women’s History Month, but it is just as much about our past as it is about our future. Our past reflects a consistent, persistent fight for justice, and Teamsters are continuing that fight to this day. Whether it’s in statehouses, at the negotiating table, or in the workplace, Teamsters are standing up for what is just and right—and Teamster women are taking a leading role in these important battles.

    The Teamsters Union is proud to honor Women’s History Month.

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