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ATU International Women’s Caucus Conference - ‘And Still, We Rise’

In early July, ATU women and allies from across the U.S. and Canada came together for the 37th ATU International Women’s Caucus Conference hosted by Local 1091 in Austin, TX.

International President John Costa traveled to Austin to welcome attendees and deliver a strong message about the importance of women’s leadership in our Union, highlighting our recently elected International Executive Vice President and the first female and Latina to hold the position, Yvette Trujillo. “You may have heard me say before that I tell our Locals, if you want to get something done, make sure you have women on your board, as shop stewards, as your Local leaders.” For Costa, a father of two daughters, this cause is personal, he told the crowd of over 200.


Breaking Stigmas

Also speaking on day one was Rick Levy, President of the Texas AFL-CIO, who welcomed attendees to Texas, Dottie Watkins, CEO of Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and Elise Bryant, National President of the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW), who gave a rousing speech for women to unapologetically fight for their rights and honor all those who came before us.

At lunch, attendees heard from Janet Gerhard, our partner at FHE Health. In an emotional call to arms, women stood up to share their pain and their joy and vowed to continue taking care of each other. ATU trainings about apprenticeships and women’s equity were also given.

International Executive Vice President Yvette Trujillo and International Secretary-Treasurer Ken Kirk also addressed attendees. International Vice Presidents Michelle Sommers, Natalie Cruz, Amanda Sawyer-Turner, and Ken Day, as well as founding member of the ATU International Women’s Caucus and retired International Vice President Janis Borchardt, also participated.


‘And Still, We Rise’

Day two at ATU International Women’s Caucus Conference was just as inspiring as the first, as delegates showed up in a sea of white to conduct the business of the Caucus, including forming two Women’s Caucus committees, a 40 and under committee, and a COPE committee.

At lunch, IEVP Trujillo gave a powerful speech about her rise to become the first woman IEVP in ATU’s history. With the conference theme of ‘And Still We Rise,’ Trujillo spoke to attendees about the challenges of being a woman and a mother in a male dominated field and fighting at every step of the way, knowing that the women behind her would benefit.

The Caucus also honored Janis Borchardt, retired International Vice President, and founding member of the Caucus, for her tireless efforts on behalf of ATU women.

The day of business ended with elections for Caucus officers, with Jackie Jeter Local 689-Washington, DC, elected Chairperson, Angie Clark Local 113-Toronto, ON, elected Vice Chairperson, Robyn Ward Local 1300-Baltimore, MD, elected Recording Secretary, and Elaine Vance Local 268-Clevland, OH, elected Financial Secretary-Treasurer.

Thank you to International Women’s Caucus Chair Jackie Jeter, the entire executive board, and Local 1091-Austin, TX, for hosting this powerful event.