Labor Day 1995: Women in unions

From the Workers World, 7 September, 1995.

Women are a dynamic force in the labor movement. Of the AFL-CIO's four biggest unions, three are majority female.

They are AFSCME, the Service Employees and the Federation of Teachers. A fourth not in the AFL-CIO, the National Education Association, is the country's biggest union and has a heavily female membership.

Of the two biggest AFL-CIO unions, the Teamsters has a growing number of women members as it branches out to represent workers in many industries. And there are many women, including grocery-store workers and food-processing plant workers, in the Food and Commercial Workers.

What about the wave of union mergers? The new UNITE union, which combined the two main garment- and textile-industry unions, is primarily Third World women. The Newspaper Guild is soon to merge with the Communications Workers, which represents, among others, operators at AT&T and the Baby Bells.

You may be surprised at how many women are in the great new union that will emerge from the UAW, USW and IAM. Less than half the UAW's members, for example, are auto workers. It also represents office workers and many others.

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