DC 37 celebrates Womens History
Still pushing for parity
10 Labor History Panel
Topic: The working womens movement
and the struggle to achieve racial and sexual equality in the
workplace. Speakers include Nancy MacLean, author of
Freedom Is Not Enough: The Opening of the American Workplace
Alice Kessler-Harris, author of In Pursuit of Equity.
6 p.m., 125 Barclay Street, Room 5.
Sponsor: Womens Committee of the Civil Service Technical
Guild Local 375.
Members of the DC 37 Womens Committee include Committee
Chair Walthene Primus (front, right) with the honorees of the
evening, Supreme Court Justice Sylvia Hinds Radix and Civil Court
Judge Sylvia G. Ash at the March 24 event. Sirra Crippen, newly-elected
president of Parks Gardeners Local 1507, was also honored.
Local 375 President
Claude Fort joins members of the Womens Committee and honored
speakers on stage. The program put the spotlight on the need to
push for parity in nontraditional jobs.
By JANE LaTOUR
For Womens History Month, DC 37 found many ways to celebrate womens
lives and the work they contribute in their careers, communities and unions.
Real Estate Employees Local 1219 got off to an early start with a Feb.
18 program that explored womens health issues. The Womens
Committee of Municipal Hospital Employees Union Local 420 organized their
first weekend retreat March 10 through 12. Members who attended learned
about health matters, stress prevention and the history of their union.
On March 17, the Womens Committee of MTA Clerical-Administrative
EmployeesLocal 1655 held an evening program that addressed issues of concern
to all members, including domestic violence, AIDS, and the work of Habitat
On March 8, the Womens Committee of Social Service Employees Union
Local 371 presented a program on Cultural Diversity A Womans
Point of View. Two local members described their experiences working
in foreign lands. Rachele Shamesh, originally from Iran, worked in the
United Kingdom. Laila Ahmed, a native of Sudan, worked in the United Arab
Emirates and then attended college in the United States and the United
Kingdom, where she held many different jobs. Ms. Ahmed, an engineer, spoke
about her experiences as a police officer in the UAE, where female officers
are unarmed and worked exclusively with women.
Speakers invited by the locals Womens Committee addressed
the delegates of Civil Service Technical Guild Local 375 March 15. Deputy
Commissioner Fatma Amer, a native of Egypt, spoke about her career as
an Engineer at the Department of Buildings. We have to encourage
our daughters and push them towards challenges, she said.
Local 371 Womens Committee Co-chair Faye Moore (l.) made
the point that, Women in the Citys workforce come
from everywhere in the world. The program on cultural diversity
in the workplace featured speakers Rachele Shamesh (center), from
Iraq, and Laila Ahmed, from Sudan and the UAE.
Keynote speaker Captain Brenda Berkman told of the tough
situation the citys first female Firefighters faced in 1982. For
10 years, we had a really difficult time, said Berkman. Where
was our union? she asked. They fought us all the way.
On March 28, a documentary about Berkman and the women of the FDNY aired
nationally on public television. Taking the Heat shows what
these pioneers endured. The women in these nontraditional jobs,
in firefighting, in construction, even in your own union, are doing the
job, Berkman said. Give us your support. Be forward looking.
Local 1655 Women's
Committee member Doris Overton with her son James, and his friend,
Shawnette Blakey, at the March 17 forum on women Making
Breaking down barriers
After the meeting, Local 375s Mike Kenny told Berkman he appreciated
her work in removing barriers for women. Thanks to you and women
like you, my daughter is going to Annapolis next year, he said.
and Engineer Fatma Amer, Dept. of Buildings.
On March 8, Clerical-Administrative Employees Local 1549
rolled out the welcome mat for the legendary New Yorker Melba Moore. The
star delighted members with her one-woman show about her life. Moores
song and play, both named, Im Still Here, testify to
her trials and achievements as a black artist.
On March 24, the DC 37 Womens Committee honored two outstanding
union women who excelled as lawyers: newly elected Civil Court Judge Sylvia
G. Ash and state Supreme Court Justice Sylvia Hinds Radix. Within
DC 37, we have women who have risen to places of prominence, said
Committee Chair Walthene Primus. The years they spent at the union
fighting for the members gave them a solid foundation to venture out successfully.
As befitting a union representing computer personnel, Local
2627 used the Internet to link their members to some labor history specifically
related to women. They also held their first on-line raffle to celebrate
Womens History Month. Prizes went to eight winners, who got their
choice of either a Rosie the Riveter mug or a mouse pad. Local 2627 member
Cynthia Perkins vowed, Ill find new ways to increase my activism
and Ill take more note of our positive movers and shakers.
Right: Local 1549 celebrated Women's History Month
on March 8 with a performance by the legendary Melba Moore. Ms. Moore
was born in New York City in 1945. She appeared on Broadway in Hair, and
in the musical Purlie. She began her successful career singing gospel,
blues, and standard hits as a music teacher, which was very fulfilling.
But she gave it all up to be a star.