2018 International Women's Conference Delegate Bios

We asked some of our most stellar sisters who are attending the 2018 International Women's Conference in Toronto, Ontario, some questions about being an activist and more. Check out some of their bios below.

Not at the conference? Stay connected to what's happening at the conference on social media! Follow @steelworkers and @steelworkersCA on twitter.

DISTRICT 1

Name: Kathy Hardesty
Local: 731
Hometown: Chillicothe, Ohio
Employer, Job Title: Glatfelter Paper, Maintenance safety advocate

Is this your first WOS conference? If not, when was your first?
No, it’s been a while since my first one.

What are you most looking forward to?
Right at the moment, I want to look at the SOAR program, because I’m at the end of my career, but I’m not ready to give up the union and the union activity.

What does it mean to you to be a “Woman of Steel?”
Leader, activist, compassion

How do you feel like unions/the USW could help in the fight for true women’s equity?
I think they do a good job now. I’ve been around it for a good while, and it continues: they keep trying to get more and more people involved. They are giving women the opportunity to learn by promoting what women can do and how they can raise their voices.

If you could describe your local union in one word, what would it be?
Pro union, strong opinions

If you had to live without either your phone, Netflix, cheese, or men, which it would be?
Netflix

Name: Nicole Perry
Local: 979
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio

Employer, Job Title: ArcelorMittel, Service Tech in quality department

Is this your first WOS conference? If not, when was your first?
No, this is my second. I was at the one in Pittsburgh three years ago.

What are you most looking forward to?
The last conference led me to step up and take on a position as WOS chair, and it led me to run for office as treasurer, even though I didn’t win. This time I want to gain information so I can get more of the women in my local involved and get the committees to work together like our Next Gen and Rapid Response and Veterans’ committees.

What does it mean to you to be a “Woman of Steel?”
It’s empowering. It means I have a support system. I know each local is different, but for me it’s a real sisterhood because I had some good mentoring coming out of Women of Steel.  In this industry, it’s not always welcoming to women, but having that support system lets us go forward and make the changes that need to be made.

How do you feel like unions/the USW could help in the fight for true women’s equity?
I think we need to get away from some of our past ideas and add more inclusion of women. I think if we need to educate some of our male members. Lots of times when they go and look for people to do certain jobs in the local, they automatically go to men. We have “committeemen.” We need more “committee persons.” I believe in respecting our past, but we need some new traditions that include everyone and make them feel comfortable.

If you could describe your local union in one word, what would it be?
Generous

If you had to live without either your phone, Netflix, cheese, or men, which it would be?
Netflix


DISTRICT 2

Name: Jackie Anklam
Local: 9899
Hometown: Saginaw, Mich.
Employer, Job Title: St. Mary’s of Michigan/Touchpoint, Environmental tech

Is this your first WOS conference? If not, when was your first?
No. I first went to the one 2009 in Toronto.

What were/are you most looking forward to?
I’m looking forward to getting information to take back into my local especially so we can start working to get more women to get active. It’ll be good to re-energize our Women of Steel committee, given than the primary membership at my local is about 85 percent female.

What does it mean to you to be a “Woman of Steel?”
I’ve listened to a lot of the other Sisters talk about the hurdles they struggled to overcome to be active in their locals. It makes me feel good that my local doesn’t have some of the same struggles, like male dominance, because I work with primarily women. And when you work as a big group of women, as Women of Steel, on a project like volunteering or on an action like phone banking, it makes you feel like you belong there, that you are actually doing something to make the world better. Women of Steel gives the union a more female structure.

How do you feel like unions/the USW could help in the fight for true women’s equity?
I think, first and foremost, there needs to be a lot more education when it comes to defining what exactly our roles are. I think that along with that comes the need for more opportunity for women. They ask us to step up when they need us for political action or at rallies. We’re there when they call, and I think they depend on us so much. But they need to realize that given the chance, we could mobilize this union even more.

If you could describe your local union in one word, what would it be?
Diversified

If you had to live without either your phone, Netflix, cheese, or men, which it would be?
Netflix

Name: Karen Sweere
Local: 247
Hometown: Green Bay, Wis.
Employer, Job Title: Procter and Gamble, Technician operator in Charmin department

Is this your first WOS conference? If not, when was your first?
No, it is my second.

What are you most looking forward to?
Meeting the sisters that I’ve seen at the last conference and seeing new ones. I’ve met a few new people already who are just amazing.

What does it mean to you to be a “Woman of Steel?”
I am so proud to be a Woman of Steel because I support everything the union stands for, and I want to empower women to be all they can be.

How do you feel like unions/the USW could help in the fight for true women’s equity?
It can help by just supporting us in everything we bring up, supporting our needs. It can help us address issues that we’re fighting for. Right now, for me, it’s the issue of homeless women. I have one in particular that I’m coaching, earning her trust, trying to help her as much as I can and hopefully get her out the situation she’s in. Our WOS committee does blessing bags, and that’s how I first approached this.

If you could describe your local union in one word, what would it be?
Building strength

If you had to live without either your phone, Netflix, cheese, or men, which it would be?
Netflix. I don’t watch Netflix.


DISTRICT 3

Name: Alecia McLeod
Local: 7913
Hometown: Brandon, Manitoba, Canada
Employer, Job Title: Behlen Industries, Welder

Is this your first WOS conference? If not, when was your first?
Yes – for International conferences. I attended a Canadian Women’s Conference 10 years ago in Saskatoon.

What are you most looking forward to?
I am looking forward to the courses – dealing with female subjects: health and safety, gloves not fitting, having proper changerooms, not just the washroom.

What does it mean to you to be a “Woman of Steel?”
I’m quite proud of it. It means having a sense of belonging. I was on vacation in South Dakota this summer and saw a woman wearing a Woman of Steel shirt. I didn’t speak to her, but I knew I could have – it gives me a sense of connection.

How do you feel unions/the USW could help in the fight for true women’s equality?
It’s having a voice behind you. In our workplace, there are only two of us. It’s having support, ideas and learning from others who have overcome the same type of roadblocks.

If you could describe your local union in one word, what would it be? (Be nice!)
Family

If you had to live without one of your phone, Netflix, cheese or men, which it would be?
Cheese

Name: Michelle Strickland
Local: 1-405
Hometown: Cranbrook, British Columbia, Canada
Employer, Job Title: East Kootenay Community Credit Union, Commercial Sales Representative

Is this your first WOS conference? If not, when was your first?
Yes!

What are you most looking forward to?
The whole experience is huge for me. Networking. Any opportunity to see other sisters is big. I’m here with two sisters from my local and one of them is new to the union.

What does it mean to you to be a “Woman of Steel?”
I find any Women of Steel activity such as meetings empowering. It’s important for women to stand together. I’m a woman of recovery and it’s very much intertwined. I had to learn to look after myself and Women of Steel is about that, too – strengthening and supporting each other.

How do you feel unions/the USW could help in the fight for true women’s equality?
There has been a lot of focus on mental health issues. And women are going to help get rid of the stigma because women are open and accepting and stepping up to help people who are suffering. We need to head in that direction because so many are affected by mental illness and addiction.

If you could describe your local union in one word, what would it be? (Be nice!)
Family             

If you had to live without one of your phone, Netflix, cheese or men, which it would be?
Men


DISTRICT 4

Name: Cindy Marlow
Local: 8823-09
Hometown: Lancaster, N.Y.
Employer, Job Title: Hale Northeastern, Department head of wardrobe

Is this your first WOS conference? If not, when was your first?
No. My first was over 20 years ago.

What were/are you most looking forward to?
The networking, the camaraderie, the gathering of any knowledge I can take back, the new friendships and the ability to mentor.

What does it mean to you to be a “Woman of Steel?”
It is in my blood. It’s extremely fulfilling. It’s actually a passion now. I’m happiest when I’m doing this above all other things besides being with my son. I survived at my job because of the knowledge I received from the union at large and the Women of Steel.

How do you feel like unions/the USW could help in the fight for true women’s equity?
They have to make sure there’s always an open door to let women voice their opinions. I’d like to see a different type of chain of command. If a woman has a problem, she goes to her local union president and chances are, he’s a man and chances are he’s not going to want to work to deal with it. I’d like to see a different channel so a woman can get the help she needs—one that helps women.

If you could describe your local union in one word, what would it be?
Never a dull moment

If you had to live without either your phone, Netflix, cheese, or men, which it would be?
Netflix—I don’t have it anyway.

Name: Jessica Rios Viner
Local: 6135
Hometown: Bayamon, Puerto Rico
Employer, Job Title: GFR media, Reporter

Is this your first WOS conference? If not, when was your first?
Yes.

What are you most looking forward to?
I’m looking forward to just learning and connecting with all the sisters from all over, learning about each other and what we can implement in our locals and teach them about the troubles we’re facing.  It’s about building power together.

What does it mean to you to be a “Woman of Steel?”
It means power. It means strength. It means unity. It means being able to build and rely on a sisterhood so we can not only help and fix problems not only in our local but also in our communities.

How do you feel like unions/the USW could help in the fight for true women’s equity?
First of all, they already help with the wage gap with a contract and visibility and giving light to the problems women are facing. It helps us overcome them together—in many places around the world at the same time, not just in one area.

If you could describe your local union in one word, what would it be?
Together. All in.

If you had to live without either your phone, Netflix, cheese, or men, which it would be?
Men. We don’t really need them. We kind of do, but not really.


DISTRICT 5

Name: Nancy Lapointe
Local: 1976
Hometown: Montreal, Canada

Employer, Job Title: Canadian Pacific Rail, Inspector of containers and other equipment, but currently on leave working full time for my local

Is this your first WOS conference? If not, when was your first?
Yes! As the vice president of my local for District 5, I usually try to get other women involved.

What are you most looking forward to?
Because this is an international conference, I was looking forward to seeing people from my leadership course and to meet new Women of Steel.

What does it mean to you to be a “Woman of Steel?”
We are a visible minority in the union. Even though there are more and more of us, we are still a minority, and we need to take our place!

How do you feel like unions/the USW could help in the fight for true women’s equity?
We can’t bury our heads in the sand. Sometimes when we want to take our place in the union, we are put in our place. In my local, there is lots of space for women to lead, but I’d like to see the same thing within our larger union.

If you could describe your local union in one word, what would it be?
Inclusive

If you had to live without either your phone, Netflix, cheese, or men, which it would be?
Cheese

Name: Nancy Thibault
Local: 9291
Hometown: Rouyn-Noranda, Canada
Employer, Job Title: Au Jardin Pierrot Childcare Centre, Early childhood educator, but I’ve been released full-time for most of the past seven years to do Organizing in District 5.

Is this your first WOS conference? If not, when was your first?
No, my first WOS conference was a national conference held in Toronto at the Holiday Inn about six years ago.

What are you most looking forward to?
I am looking forward to getting a good dose of energy from my sisters!

What does it mean to you to be a “Woman of Steel?”
To me it means we add diversity to the union. We are one hell of an asset!

How do you feel like unions/the USW could help in the fight for true women’s equity?
I think the USW could start by having true equality within our union. At the Steelworkers, we are good secretaries, good staff reps, but not yet area coordinators or directors. Even though we only represent 20% of the membership, we don’t see that level of representation in the union’s leadership. We ask governments to improve women’s representation, we should be doing the same within our own organization. I don’t think there’s a lack of good will. I just think we are a bit stuck in the very masculine tradition of the union (mines, steel, etc.)

If you could describe your local union in one word, what would it be?
Egalitarian – within our local men and women are in equal numbers around the table (as elected representatives)

If you had to live without either your phone, Netflix, cheese, or men, which it would be?
Cheese


DISTRICT 6

Name: Meg Grimes
Local: 4120
Hometown: Guelph, Ontario, Canada
Employer, Job Title: The Univeristy of Guelph, Awards and Agreements Officer

Is this your first WOS conference? If not, when was your first?
My first was the District 6 Women’s Conference last July.

What are you most looking forward to?
I’m looking forward to meeting women organizing in female-dominated workplaces, and I’m interested in meeting women from the U.S. who are working on internal organizing.

What does it mean to you to be a “Woman of Steel?”
It makes me feel very proud and powerful. I feel that when I give my opinion, that I’m listened to within the organization. It gives me a voice.

How do you feel unions/the USW could help in the fight for true women’s equality?
It’s the fact that our union is growing in female-dominated workplaces – universities, education, health care. It’s giving credence to the fact that women’s labour should be valued and women should be paid appropriately for what they do.

If you could describe your local union in one word, what would it be?
Caring

If you had to live without either your phone, Netflix, cheese, or men, which it would be?
My phone

Name: Donna Wingrove
Local: 8782
Hometown: Simcoe, Ontario, Canada
Employer, Job Title: Stelco, Boiler Operator

Is this your first WOS conference? If not, when was your first?
This is my fourth international conference. The first may have been in Vancouver.

What are you most looking forward to?
Networking. Hearing sisters’ stories, fights and struggles. Times have changed. The basis of our union has changed with more women in predominantly male jobs; our union is growing into different sectors.

What does it mean to you to be a “Woman of Steel?”
Power and pride.

How do you feel unions/the USW could help in the fight for true women’s equality?
The union offers huge support. Everybody’s equality is different – pay, education, jobs. You ask for what you need and Women of Steel will give it to you.

If you could describe your local union in one word, what would it be?
Strong

If you had to live without either your phone, Netflix, cheese, or men, which it would be?
My phone


District 7

Name: Phyllis Davis
Local: 166M
Employer/Job Title: Lead shop steward, Local166M at Ardagh

Is this your first WOS conference? If not, when was your first?
Yes, and I’m extremely excited to be here. Thank you, Madam President Turner!

What are you most looking forward to?
The workshops, getting the tools by which to develop and spearhead activities within our local.

What does it mean to you to be a “Woman of Steel?”
Knowledge—how to get things done!

How do you feel like unions/the USW could help in the fight for true women’s equity?
Through organized legislation that addresses any attacks that would roll back our gains made this far or limit our efforts in the future.

If you could describe your local union in one word, what would it be?
Enduring.

If you had to live without either your phone, Netflix, cheese, or men, which it would be?
Netflix.

Name: Megan Seller
Local: 12775
Hometown: Porter, Ind.
Employer, Job Title: Schahfer Generating Station, Station Mechanic

Is this your first WOS conference? If not, when was your first?
This is my second.

What are you most looking forward to?
I just started rebuilding our local’s WOS committee, so I wanted to find out how to get more women involved and also to better help pregnant women to prepare for life with children. I also want to get contract language that provides assistance with childcare.

What does it mean to you to be a “Woman of Steel?”
For me, it’s empowering other women and being positive. We are so often our own worst enemies.

How do you feel like unions/the USW could help in the fight for true women’s equity?
In our local, we have a sliding pay scale, so I get pay raises every six months and annually, and when I become a journeyman, I will get paid the same as the men. Pay equity alone is huge.

If you could describe your local union in one word, what would it be?
Strong.

If you had to live without either your phone, Netflix, cheese, or men, which it would be?
Cheese.


DISTRICT 8

Name: Cheryl Husk
Local: 9423
Hometown: Lewisport, Ky.
Employer, Job Title: Century Aluminum, Recording secretary at Local 9423; Hawesville aluminum smelter

Is this your first WOS conference? If not, when was your first?
Yes, this is my first. I’m the WOS facilitator for Kentucky, and I’m here helping them facilitate.

What are you most looking forward to?
I’m looking forward to meeting people and hearing about the different sectors in our union. I’m also looking forward to the workshops. I really like to absorb things.

What does it mean to you to be a “Woman of Steel?”
Empowerment. I was a Steelworker for several years before I got involved with WOS. I went to our District 8 summer institute, and they showed me how this isn’t just a men’s union. There’s a place for us both in our plant, in our local union, and even at the International. That’s really empowering.

How do you feel like unions/the USW could help in the fight for true women’s equity?
Training is key, which my district does really well. It gives you a voice to speak up on things, like equity in the workplace. For example, when I first started working 23 years ago, there was one restroom in the entire plant. We also have dealt with things such as all of the uniforms being men’s uniforms, so they didn’t fit the women right. It sounds silly, but little things like that matter.

If you could describe your local union in one word, what would it be?
Family. Sometimes we bicker, but everyone comes together.

If you had to live without either your phone, Netflix, cheese, or men, which it would be?
Netflix, because I never have any time to watch it anyway!


DISTRICT 9

Name: Margie Darwin
Local: 12
Hometown: Gadsden, Ala.
Employer, Job Title: Goodyear, Maintenance

Is this your first WOS conference? If not, when was your first?
This is probably my fourth conference.

What are you most looking forward to?
You’re always meeting new people and learning their opinions and struggles. It’s always something different.

What does it mean to you to be a “Woman of Steel?”
It means everything. I’ve been the WOS chair at my local for about ten years. Being able to relate to people, being there for both the women and the men—I love it. It’s really rewarding.

How do you feel like unions/the USW could help in the fight for true women’s equity?
We’re already doing things—the education conferences, and the union just backing us up. I think every year it gets a little better and we’re really advancing.

If you could describe your local union in one word, what would it be?
Great. It’s just great.

If you had to live without either your phone, Netflix, cheese, or men, which it would be?
Netflix.

Name: Margaret Mullins
Local: 7739
Hometown: Johnson City, Tenn.
Employer, Job Title: American Water Heater, Cycle counter

Is this your first WOS conference? If not, when was your first?
Yes. I’ve been in the union for almost 11 years, but have just recently gotten really involved.

What are you most looking forward to?
Learning.

What does it mean to you to be a “Woman of Steel?”
I think we’re awesome. I love what we do and what we stand for, and I like being a part of that. We’re here to help and to reach out.

How do you feel like unions/the USW could help in the fight for true women’s equity?
I think we just need to try to get more women in there (in the union), and to keep doing these conferences.

If you could describe your local union in one word, what would it be?
Let’s just say we’re awesome.

If you had to live without either your phone, Netflix, cheese, or men, which it would be?
Men.


DISTRICT 10

Name: Evelyn Cruz Redd
Local: 1165-06
Hometown: Coatesville, Pa.
Employer, Job Title: AGC Chemical, Quality Control Technician

Is this your first WOS conference? If not, when was your first?
No. This is the second.

What are you most looking forward to?
Education and growth.

What does it mean to you to be a “Woman of Steel?”
It means a lot. I am the only female at my job. I am the only Woman of Steel at my job, so just to know I have rights as a woman means a lot. I am the Woman of Steel there.

How do you feel like unions/the USW could help in the fight for true women’s equity?
Because of the union, the women have the same rights as men. The only difference is gender. There no longer is this, “You can’t do this because you are a women.” That has helped a lot of women, especially women who can do stuff better than men.

If you could describe your local union in one word, what would it be?
Improving

If you had to live without either your phone, Netflix, cheese, or men, which it would be?
Netflix

Name: Stacey Jones
Local: 1165
Hometown: Coatesville, Pa.
Employer, Job Title: ArcelorMittal, Senior Operator Technician, Number One Screw Operator

Is this your first WOS conference? If not, when was your first?
No. I have probably been to four or five.

What are you most looking forward to?
I am looking forward to meeting new people and getting educated and taking information back to my local. The best part is meeting all the women and then seeing them at another conference later. I give the new people from Next Gen a hug to let them know they are welcome. That is just me. I am Miss Hospitality. It is in my blood.

What does it mean to you to be a “Woman of Steel?”
Women of Steel means a lot, especially when people come up and ask me what I do in the local. I say I am the chair for the Women of Steel. Our WOS got active in the community.  We go out, for example, to people who are bereaved and take them food and flowers and fruit to comfort them a little bit. We have an opportunity to get together and discuss issues that we cannot discuss with the men.

How do you feel like unions/the USW could help in the fight for true women’s equity?
I think by giving women a greater opportunity and encouraging women to get on the executive board, not just sit back, but step forward. The union encourages us. Leave it to Beaver days are over. It is time for us to step up and show our faces.

If you could describe your local union in one word, what would it be?
Great

If you had to live without either your phone, Netflix, cheese, or men, which it would be?
I have never watched Netflix, so I have to go with Netflix.

Name: Carolyn Scott
Local: 1165
Hometown: Coatesville, Pa.
Employer, Job Title: ArcelorMittal (steel plate mill), Test processor

Is this your first WOS conference? If not, when was your first?
This is my second.

What are you most looking forward to?
I am learning. It is a learning process. I will learn things to take back to the women, first of all in my company, and second of all in my community because I feel women as a whole should be supportive of each other.

What does it mean to you to be a “Woman of Steel?”
What it has done for me is provide for my family, as a single parent. I feel like I am as strong as the plate I make. To be a union member is the one thing I am most proud of. I have fair wages because I work for a union shop. The union brothers before me have made a path for me to make a decent wage to take care of my family. I could not have done for my family on a minimum wage job. I would have to work two jobs at minimum wage, and then who would raise my children? Thank God I found a union job that could provide for my family. My company, by court decree, was forced to hire people of color and women, and I know that is how I got my job. They got two credits for one with me.

How do you feel like unions/the USW could help in the fight for true women’s equity?
For one, we have to support each other. If one woman is fighting a battle, it belongs to us all. It starts with us supporting each other. You can network as women within Women of Steel, and if you are being discriminated against, then you call your other women and let them know this is happening. Then we as a group say, “No, you can’t do that!” If you don’t demand respect as a woman, you will never get it.

If you could describe your local union in one word, what would it be?
Loyal 

If you had to live without either your phone, Netflix, cheese, or men, which it would be?
All of them can go. They can all go. I could drop all four of them and not look back. That is the truth.


DISTRICT 11

Name: Marketa Anderson
Local: 9349
Hometown: Chisholm, Minn.
Employer, Job Title: Range Center Inc., a residential and vocational center for people with mental and physical challenges, Support Service Manager

Is this your first WOS conference? If not, when was your first?
This is my second one in Canada. I have been to every one since 2002.

What are you most looking forward to?
The classes: Healthy Minds and Better Care of Women’s Health and Safety.

What does it mean to you to be a “Woman of Steel?”
It is important because it gives women an outlet in their unions to be active. My executive board is all women except for one man. I have an advantage because there are mostly women in the unit. My unit is one of bigger ones with 150 people, maybe 10 men. The men have to work to be active.

How do you feel like unions/the USW could help in the fight for true women’s equity?
Since I have been active, I have heard how we have gotten more women in top positions, but I have not seen it. I don’t see anyone up there with Carol (Landry, USW Vice President).

If you could describe your local union in one word, what would it be?
Family

If you had to live without either your phone, Netflix, cheese, or men, which it would be?
Netflix

Name: Christine Gardiner
Local: 11-0001 trustee and chief steward on workers’ committee
Hometown: Joliet, Mont.
Employer, Job Title: Sibanye Stillwater (platinum and palladium mine, refinery and smelter), Operator 1 in the smelter, operating the furnace, converters or in other areas

Is this your first WOS conference? If not, when was your first?
This is my first International Women’s Conference but I attended a District WOS Conference.

What are you most looking forward to?
Talking with other women from the mining industry and comparing notes on their process at work and working conditions and safety.

What does it mean to you to be a “Woman of Steel?”
It means fighting that fight every day for future women.

How do you feel like unions/the USW could help in the fight for true women’s equity?
That is a tough one. We are going to have to get creative because I don’t feel it is obvious as it used to be. It is obvious when it is equal pay. Right now, there is more inequality under the surface that we need to hash out.

If you could describe your local union in one word, what would it be?
Voice

If you had to live without either your phone, Netflix, cheese, or men, which it would be?
Netflix


DISTRICT 12

Name: Josie Garro
Local: 8599
Hometown: Fontana, Calif.
Employer, Job Title: Fontana Unified School District, Special education aide for orthopedic and profoundly disabled students

Is this your first WOS conference? If not, when was your first?
Oh no, I have been in it for 12 years, so I have gone to other international and local Women of Steels conferences.

What are you most looking forward to?
Every time I go to the conference, I learn something that I can take back to my local and share. It is a very good learning experience.

What does it mean to you to be a “Woman of Steel?”
I am proud. It makes me feel strong. It has really changed me. I am more open with people. I know what I am saying and how important unions are and to spread that message to everyone. When you are in a union, everything you work for, especially your pension, you have when you retire.

How do you feel like unions/the USW could help in the fight for true women’s equity?
They are the best. They educate us. They keep giving us education that is so important on everything that matters on our health, on our jobs, to have a voice. We have to spread the word, and we have to be taught how to do that properly so we can teach others.

If you could describe your local union in one word, what would it be?
Awesome.

If you had to live without either your phone, Netflix, cheese, or men, which it would be?
Cheese.

Name: Aubrey Schenk-Martorana
Local: 652
Hometown: Idaho Falls Idaho
Employer, Job Title: BEA (nuclear plant), Tool crib attendant

Is this your first WOS conference? If not, when was your first?
It’s not my first; it’s my fourth.

What are you most looking forward to?
There is just so much. I think the thing I am most looking forward to is the classes.

What does it mean to you to be a “Woman of Steel?”
To me, having the Women of Steel gives us a voice. I think where we are in a male-dominated work force, it is easier for us to come to Women of Steel. There are so many women who come into the workforce and don’t know what a union is or what Women of Steel does. Having Women of Steel there gives them the confidence they need to be more active, and it leads them to take more leadership roles in the local.

How do you feel like unions/the USW could help in the fight for true women’s equity?
We are already on the right path because the USW gives all members a voice as it is. Continued education and training they give helps us to better understand exactly what women are struggling with. When we were in our district meeting today, I began to understand how many women still have problems in their locals

If you could describe your local union in one word, what would it be?
Strong

If you had to live without either your phone, Netflix, cheese, or men, which it would be?
Netflix 


DISTRICT 13

Name: Venessa Smith
Local: 1226
Hometown: Leesville, La.
Employer, Job Title: Packaging Corporation of America, Electrical and Instrumentation Mechanic

Is this your first WOS conference? If not, when was your first?
Yes!

What were/are you most looking forward to?
One of the things I really want to do is to learn how to handle issues of racism and to be a speaker for women’s rights.

What does it mean to you to be a “Woman of Steel?”
I didn’t get involved when my union president first asked me, but then I thought I would give it a try. It has brought me out of my shell and I’ve had a lot of support from all the women at the mill.

How do you feel unions/the USW could help in the fight for true women’s equity?
I think the union is doing a lot – promoting the committees. A lot of companies didn’t know the Women’s Committee was mandated. Now we can get the word out. When we do projects, people see it.

If you could describe your local union in one word, what would it be?
Supportive

If you had to live without either your phone, Netflix, cheese, or men, which it would be?
My phone

Name: Sue Walton
Local: 985 L
Hometown: Ada, Okla,
Employer, Job Title: Flex-N-Gate, Press Attendant

Is this your first WOS conference? If not, when was your first?
I have been to two trainings. This is my second International Women’s Conference. I attended my first in Pittsburgh two or three years ago.

What were/are you most looking forward to?
The speakers are always so excellent. And the workshops are really beneficial.

What does it mean to you to be a “Woman of Steel?”
It means unification of the women. I enjoy the projects that we do, such as Relay for Life that raises money for the Cancer Society and the funds are directed locally. We have done eight projects in the last two years. It’s brought recognition to our union and now the community comes to us.

How do you feel unions/the USW could help in the fight for true women’s equity?
We wouldn’t have equity without the union. I know it would be totally different for women without the union.

If you could describe your local union in one word, what would it be?
Necessary

If you had to live without either your phone, Netflix, cheese, or men, which it would be?
Cheese

Press Inquiries

Media Contacts

Communications Director:
Wayne Ranick at 412-562-2444

USW@WORK (USW magazine)
Editor Jim McKay

For industry specific inquiries,
Call USW Communications at 412-562-2442

Mailing Address

United Steelworkers
Communications Department
60 Blvd. of the Allies
Pittsburgh, PA 15222