The Pennsylvania Federation BMWED-IBT is encouraging the Woman Maintenance of Way Workers to continue their efforts to fighting injustice, taking on leadership roles, and empowering not just each other but also the young women who look up to them, because there is no glass ceiling a woman cannot break.
Women’s Caucus Position Statement on Paid Parental Leave
As our first formal project as a Women’s Caucus we have chosen to focus our energies on organizing and educating within our Union to promote an understanding of the need for paid parental leave for all eligible members.
A paid parental leave policy shows recognition of the importance of supporting a work/life balance and provides the opportunity for parents to bond with their new child. It would give parents time to adjust to the demands of a new family without impacting on the quality of their work. Family-friendly policies are essential to cultivating an atmosphere where employees can thrive professionally without sacrificing family obligations. Being successful at work and at home should not be a trade off. Paid parental leave offers employees the time they need to build a healthy family and has been shown to subsequently contribute to better work performance.
It is our position that paid parental leave should be available to all eligible members of our organization in connection with the birth of a member’s child, or the placement of an adopted child within a member’s home.
We believe that parental leave is a human right and ideally there should exist federal legislation that provides this right to all American citizens. However, the United States is one of the only developed countries in the world that has no paid parental leave law in place. The closest thing we have is the Family Medical Leave Act which allows eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks unpaid leave for the arrival of a child, but because of the criteria for eligibility only 60% of our work force qualifies for FMLA protections and the majority of people cannot afford to take leave without pay. Most Americans have to rely on their employers’ willingness to adopt a parental leave policy for its employees to have access to paid parental leave. At a unionized work place workers can fight for protection under their collective bargaining agreement that provides paid parental leave for all members. Unions have attempted to address the limitations of FMLA and the absence of paid leave in the workplace by bargaining for paid family leave. Many unions have been successful in this pursuit.
Since we live in the only industrialized country in the world, one of only 8 countries worldwide, that does not provide its citizens with paid parental leave when a child is born or adopted into their family, we will look to our Union to correct this injustice for the brothers and sisters of our organization.
IT IS OUR OBJECTIVE TO ENCOURAGE OUR UNION LEADERSHIP TO MAKE PAID PARENTAL LEAVE A DEMAND IN THE NEXT ROUND OF UNION NEGOTIATIONS.
Pennsylvania FederationBrotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters
Women’s Caucus Mission Statement
Our mission is to create a network of active union sisters to provide avenues for our women members to address issues related specifically to their needs as women workers in non-traditional jobs. Because our women workers work in relative isolation from one another, it is our goal to provide them with regular opportunities to come together for meetings. We will provide communication, education, strategy and a support system to advocate for equality and economic security for our sisters and their families, as well as promoting a quality work environment. We believe that “An Injury to One is an Injury to All” and; therefore, we are committed to supporting the safety and health of our women members which includes a zero tolerance for all sexual harassment behaviors. Sexual harassment is an offensive working condition which can lead to serious physical and emotional health and safety problems. We will further engage to promote social, economic and political justice within our workplace, our communities, our nation and within our Union.
Any occupation In which women make up 25% or less of the total work force is considered "nontraditional". In 1997, only 5.7% of all working women were employed in nontraditional jobs.
Why do women want nontraditional jobs?
There are many good reasons:
Better pay - 20% to 30% more than women in traditionally female jobs.
Better benefits-Jobs in technical fields and in the trades often have better health benefits and sick and vacation leaves than those provided in traditionally female jobs.
Greater autonomy - There is less direct supervision in some non-traditional jobs.
The opportunity to work outdoors, to be physically fit, and to work with your hands.
What barriers keep women from taking and keeping non-traditional jobs?
Unsupportive attitudes of family, friends, and co-workers. Society still socializes women into valuing traditional roles and steers women away from considering nontraditional jobs..
Lack of equity in education begins early in life. Young girls are often encouraged to take classes that are "traditional" and not directed into classes that are "nontraditional" such as math and science. This results in a gender gap in girls math and science achievement. Girls may also be steered away from classes where they would learn to use and repair tools and machinery.
Workplace discrimination often makes women who choose nontraditional jobs more likely to leave their jobs. There are both obvious and not-so-obvious ways in which women are treated differently in the work place. For example;
Lack of acceptance by male supervisors or coworkers.
Not getting proper training and not being allowed to learn all aspects of the job.
Being given tools and equipment that aren't sized for women, which may be complicated by unfamiliarity with tools.
Being assigned the heaviest, dirtiest, or most menial tasks.
Unlimited access to support services such as childcare, transportation, and counseling.
Sexual harassment occurs more frequently in nontraditional work environments
Women in non-traditional jobs may face greater sexual harassment than other workers. This can happen in several ways and makes it more difficult for women to succeed at their jobs:
Women entering previously all-male environments are not treated as "one of the crew; but instead may be subjected to increased foul language or unwelcome sexual conduct.
Male supervisors or coworkers may resent that women are in their work place and use sexually harassing behavior to demean them.
How can the union help?
Make sure state and federal laws are followed to ensure that women have equal access to jobs.
Prevent sexual harassment by educating the members and supervisors about sexual harassment, and negotiating anti-sexual harassment language in your collective bargaining agreement. This will help create a climate of respect in the work place in which it is clear that sexual harassment will not be tolerated.
Include effective job posting and bidding language in your collective bargaining agreement to give every one the opportunity to bid on all available jobs. Also, include provisions for educational assistance and job training.
Organize a Women's Committee or other group within the local to give women a place to address specific issues affecting women in nontraditional jobs.
Chicago men react to workplace harassment & assault
These union men were handed a sheet of paper with a real story in the real words of a woman...and told to read it. No warning. No rehearsal. They knew that it was going to be about sexual harassment in hotels and casinos. But no one told them they were supposed to say. Watch their genuine reactions to the stories of housekeepers and waitresses.A
February 24, 2018 - "Day of Action" - Philadelphia
Thousands of people rallied at the Thomas Paine Plaza in Center City Philadelphia as part of National Working People’s Day of Action and the Penn Fed contributed with a sizable presence including members of our newly organized woman’s Caucus. Workers and concerned citizens in other cities across our great nation held their own rallies and our united voice echoed.
The attendees in Philly, represented all walks of life, from labor unions, women’s and civil rights groups to faith based groups, all with the goal of calling an end to policies that rig the economy and political system against working people.
The goal is to build on a portion of the legacy of Doctor Martin Luther King Jr, when he supported striking sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee in 1968.
This rally came just days before the nation’s high court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on whether public sector employees should be compelled to pay fees to unions even if they don’t want to join them. The plaintiff in the case, Illinois resident Mark Janus, has argued that such fees — called “fair share” payments, which are generally less than member dues — violate his First Amendment rights because they force him to support organized labor.
Mayor Kenney was among the officials at the “Working People’s Day of Action,” telling the crowd at Thomas Paine Plaza that he was a “proud supporter of unions.”
“Whenever the rights of unions are threatened we need to fight back,” Kenney said. “And we will.
Labor supporters have argued that the fees prevent nonmembers from enjoying the benefits of collective bargaining without having to pay. Eliminating the fees could also have a crippling financial impact on workers’ unions across the country, which for years already have been battling decreasing membership rolls.
February 21, 2018 - Woman's Caucus meeting.
A Woman's Place In In Her Union
February 8, 2018 - Following is the resolution passed unanimously by the Pennsylvania Federation Joint Protective Board to formally endorse the formation of an independent women’s caucus within the ranks of the Federation and to provide logistical and material support to ensure its success.The Pennsylvania Federation adopted the mission statement written by our own Penn Fed sisters as the core of the resolution.Motion was moved by Vice Chairperson Steve Stearn and seconded by Executive Board member John McAteer.This resolution was adopted unanimously after much discussion. View Resolution here...
Women in Labor History - Zinn Education Project. The impact women have made in labor history is often missing from textbooks and the media despite the numerous roles women have played to organize, unionize, rally, document, and inspire workers—both men and women, children and adults, citizens and immigrants—to fight for justice. From championing better workplace conditions to cutting back the 12-hour day to demanding equal pay across racial lines, these are just a few of the women who have contributed to the labor movement. Read More…
The Feminist Case For Single Payer | by Natalie Shure | It's Time to take healthcare away from bosses and spouses | In the spring of 1969, a dozen feminists gathered at a women’s conference in Boston and came to a sober conclusion: their encounters with the United States health-care system had been overwhelmingly negative. They felt unsettled by doctors, alienated from their bodies, grifted by fees, and altogether powerless to navigate an industry they believed objectified them just as popular culture did. Read More...
This guide provides a step-by-step introduction to forming women’s committees in unions and in other worker-centered organizations. Meeting the challenges involved in organizing co-workers with a comprehensive plan and a determination to succeed in meeting the goals of the mission is what organizing is all about. Read More...
Sexual Harrassment Fact Sheet - Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination. As a result, when it occurs on the job it violates the laws against sex discrimination in the workplace, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.