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Since 2002, SIB Women’s Conferences have provided an international forum for learning and networking. Supported by General President Douglas McCarron, the general executive board, and Council executive secretary-treasurers, the gatherings have featured important keynoters, workshops, and caucuses for constituencies and geographic areas to discuss issues and goals.
A key goal of the conferences has been providing women with tools for becoming involved UBC members. Conference leaders and workshops urged attending local union meetings, forming SIB committees, and getting involved in action to better the lives of their UBC Brothers and Sisters.
These conferences have led to SIB Committees in NYC, Chicago, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Seattle, San Francisco, Miami, St. Louis, several Canadian Councils, and many other cities.
Despite the economic climate and fiscal concerns of 2009, the third UBC Women’s Conference was a resounding success. More than 400 sisters met in Las Vegas to prepare for the challenges facing a changing industry.
Among the guest speakers were Lilly Ledbetter, a pioneer and namesake of the Fair Pay Equity Act. Mrs. Ledbetter’s poignant story served to remind all who attended how the selfless act of one woman could make a difference and change the lives of so many others.
Speaker Christine Pelosi, daughter of former U.S. House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, spoke passionately about the importance of political involvement and how each of us could effective change our local communities by becoming active.
The second SIB Women’s Conference represented the opportunity to exceed our initial efforts and increase the participation of women UBC members from across the continent. Along with challenging and informative workshops, the 400 attendees heard several excellent speakers.
Donna Brazile, former campaign manager for Vice President Al Gore’s presidential run and Democratic Party operative, gave personal testimony on how important it is to become involved in our political system.
Mary-Ann Chambers, Canadian Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities in Ontario, and Barbara Byers, Vice President of the Canadian Labour Congress, both provided insight as to how women can and should impact their own futures and not allow obstacles to derail their success.
At the inaugural Women’s Conference, General President McCarron’s vision and leadership enabled 250 UBC women from across the U.S. and Canada to join for the first time in the largest conference to date at the International Training Center in Las Vegas.
The event far exceeded expectations for planners and attendees alike. Women on the brink of retirement were overwhelmed to witness an event that they didn’t believe they would see in their lifetime.
Our keynote speaker was then Senator, now Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, who by her presence demonstrated the opportunities that now existed for all women to aspire.
Labor Secretary Elaine Chao also spoke to an excited, exhilarated group of UBC women who were overwhelmed by having women in such powerful position present during the same event.
The conference opened with a red carpet in place for the women to enter the facilities, inspiring one sister to note, “When I tried to join the union in the 70’s, I was told they didn’t need any women. To turn the corner and see an actual red carpet rolled out for us…Wow! It brought tears to my eyes.”