HPAE local officers and staff participated in the 11th annual Women in Leadership Development (WILD) conference last weekend. They joined with 250 women unionists at the event, which was held in East Brunswick, NJ.
Photo below, left to right: Claudia Storicks – Local 5105, Elmer Daniels – Local 5089, Banita Herndon – Local 5089, Jean Pierce – HPAE staff, Danna Lowrie – HPAE staff, and Shelley Crowe – Local 5186. Not shown – Kendra McCann – Local 5058
Initially designed to correspond with Women’s History Month, this year’s conference was held in conjunction with International Women’s Day. This allowed the conference to be held, “the labor way, with solidarity and sisterhood,” according to Laurel Brennan, New Jersey State AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer, who organized the conference.
The conference kicked-off Friday evening with a reception attended by all WILD participants, several state lawmakers, and leaders from throughout the labor movement. Also in attendance were leaders of Working Families United for New Jersey, Inc., the 256-member coalition partner of the New Jersey State AFL-CIO, which spearheaded last year’s successful campaign to raise the minimum wage and was recently asked to lead the upcoming push for a statewide earned sick leave law.
The theme of this year’s conference, “The War on Women, Unions Fight Back,” was woven throughout workshops that prepared women to be effective, efficient, and empowered organizers in the workplace, among other skills.
Two issues highlighted at the conference were the importance of raising the minimum wage and the fight for a state law for earned sick leave. Both issues have a big impact on women because many women work in industries and occupations that are low-paying and provide few if any benefits.