|Local 808's 2023 Women's Conference Pin in honor of the Haymarket Riot, resulting in the 8 hour work day.
Around 1500 Teamster Women gathered for the Annual Women Conference in Nashville, Tennessee, this year. The “Sisters in Harmony” themed conference took place August 27th- 30th in the city that cast the final deciding vote for the ratification of the 19th amendment, granting women the right to vote. There was much to celebrate this year, including the ratification of one of the most impactful UPS contracts in teamsters’ history, with the help of some of the most powerful women in the world. It was very apparent that this year’s conference was going to be legendary.
The highly anticipated tradition of exchanging pins from different locals gave us a chance to connect with other locals and elaborate on the context behind our own pin. Local Union 808 presented a pin representing the Haymarket Riot, in 1886, that resulted in the 8-hour work day. The Haymarket Riot was supposed to be a harmonious labor protest rally, located around Haymarket Square in Chicago. However, a riot was incited once someone threw a bomb at the police. Eight labor activists were wrongfully convicted for crimes in regards to the bombing. The Haymarket Martyr’s Monument, located in Forest Park, Illinois, is dedicated to those who were unjustifiably sentenced to death while peacefully pursuing our labor rights.
In the spirit of productive labor demonstration, over 1000 Teamster women also protested at the conference for bankruptcy reform, advocating for “Workers before Executives.” Yellow Corp, a trucking company based in Nashville, is filing for bankruptcy resulting in 22,000 union workers losing their jobs. Teamster women took to the streets with their voices and their signs to spread awareness and to fight for those workers.
Additionally, multiple seminars and workshops were offered to enlighten, encourage, and inform us of the power we hold, the responsibilities we have, and the treatment we deserve as not only Teamster women, but as workers as well. Some of those workshops included, Becoming Powerful Teamster Women Stewards, Breaking Barriers: The Rise of Young Women Workers in the 2st Century, How to Deal with Harassment & Discrimination in the Workplace, Optimal Health & Wellness for the Working Female and so much more. It was also so refreshing to hear from some of the women who actively participated in the negotiation of the new UPS contract. They emphasized the importance of voicing our concerns, and how we are deserving of being in these spaces where changes can be made. Overall, the influence of Teamster Women standing with and for our members was not only acknowledged, but also appreciated. As we have shown unity and determination, we have also shown sisterhood and resilience. I cannot wait to see what the Teamsters Women Conference has in store for us in 2024!