2018 International Women's Conference Delegate Bios - Districts 7 to 13

We asked some of our most stellar sisters who are attending the 2018 International Women's Conference in Toronto, Ontario, some questions about being an activist and more. Check out some of their bios below.


DISTRICT 7

phyllisdName: Phyllis Davis

Local #: 166M

Employer/Job Title: Lead shop steward, Local166M at Ardagh

Is this your first WOS conference? If not, when was your first? Yes, and I’m extremely excited to be here. Thank you, Madam President Turner!

What are you most looking forward to? The workshops, getting the tools by which to develop and spearhead activities within our local.

What does it mean to you to be a “Woman of Steel?” Knowledge—how to get things done!

How do you feel like unions/the USW could help in the fight for true women’s equity? Through organized legislation that addresses any attacks that would roll back our gains made this far or limit our efforts in the future.

If you could describe your local union in one word, what would it be? Enduring.

If you had to live without either your phone, Netflix, cheese, or men, which it would be? Netflix.

megansName: Megan Seller

 

Local #: 12775

Hometown: Porter, Ind.

Employer: Schahfer Generating Station

Job title: Station Mechanic

Is this your first WOS conference? If not, when was your first? This is my second.

What are you most looking forward to? I just started rebuilding our local’s WOS committee, so I wanted to find out how to get more women involved and also to better help pregnant women to prepare for life with children. I also want to get contract language that provides assistance with childcare.

What does it mean to you to be a “Woman of Steel?” For me, it’s empowering other women and being positive. We are so often our own worst enemies.

How do you feel like unions/the USW could help in the fight for true women’s equity? In our local, we have a sliding pay scale, so I get pay raises every six months and annually, and when I become a journeyman, I will get paid the same as the men. Pay equity alone is huge.

If you could describe your local union in one word, what would it be? Strong.

If you had to live without either your phone, Netflix, cheese, or men, which it would be? Cheese.

DISTRICT 8

cherylhName: Cheryl Husk

Local #: 9423

Hometown: Lewisport, Ky.

Employer: Century Aluminum

Job title: Recording secretary at Local 9423; Hawesville aluminum smelter

Is this your first WOS conference? If not, when was your first? Yes, this is my first. I’m the WOS facilitator for Kentucky, and I’m here helping them facilitate.

What are you most looking forward to? I’m looking forward to meeting people and hearing about the different sectors in our union. I’m also looking forward to the workshops. I really like to absorb things.

What does it mean to you to be a “Woman of Steel?” Empowerment. I was a Steelworker for several years before I got involved with WOS. I went to our District 8 summer institute, and they showed me how this isn’t just a men’s union. There’s a place for us both in our plant, in our local union, and even at the International. That’s really empowering.

How do you feel like unions/the USW could help in the fight for true women’s equity? Training is key, which my district does really well. It gives you a voice to speak up on things, like equity in the workplace. For example, when I first started working 23 years ago, there was one restroom in the entire plant. We also have dealt with things such as all of the uniforms being men’s uniforms, so they didn’t fit the women right. It sounds silly, but little things like that matter.

If you could describe your local union in one word, what would it be? Family. Sometimes we bicker, but everyone comes together.

If you had to live without either your phone, Netflix, cheese, or men, which it would be? Netflix, because I never have any time to watch it anyway!

DISTRICT 9

margaretmName: Margaret Mullins

Local #: 7739

Hometown: Johnson City, Tenn.

 

Employer: American Water Heater

Job title: Cycle counter

Is this your first WOS conference? If not, when was your first? Yes. I’ve been in the union for almost 11 years, but have just recently gotten really involved.

What are you most looking forward to? Learning.

What does it mean to you to be a “Woman of Steel?” I think we’re awesome. I love what we do and what we stand for, and I like being a part of that. We’re here to help and to reach out.

How do you feel like unions/the USW could help in the fight for true women’s equity? I think we just need to try to get more women in there (in the union), and to keep doing these conferences.

If you could describe your local union in one word, what would it be? Let’s just say we’re awesome.

If you had to live without either your phone, Netflix, cheese, or men, which it would be? Men.

margiedName: Margie Darwin

Local #: 12

Hometown: Gadsden, Ala.

Employer: Goodyear

Job: Maintenance

Is this your first WOS conference? If not, when was your first? This is probably my fourth conference.

What are you most looking forward to? You’re always meeting new people and learning their opinions and struggles. It’s always something different.

What does it mean to you to be a “Woman of Steel?” It means everything. I’ve been the WOS chair at my local for about ten years. Being able to relate to people, being there for both the women and the men—I love it. It’s really rewarding.

How do you feel like unions/the USW could help in the fight for true women’s equity? We’re already doing things—the education conferences, and the union just backing us up. I think every year it gets a little better and we’re really advancing.

If you could describe your local union in one word, what would it be? Great. It’s just great.

If you had to live without either your phone, Netflix, cheese, or men, which it would be? Netflix.

DISTRICT 10

evelyncrName: Evelyn Cruz Redd

Local #: 1165-06

Hometown: Coatesville, Pa.

Employer: AGC Chemical

Job title: Quality Control Technician

Is this your first WOS conference? If not, when was your first? No. This is the second.

What are you most looking forward to? Education and growth.

What does it mean to you to be a “Woman of Steel?” It means a lot. I am the only female at my job. I am the only Woman of Steel at my job, so just to know I have rights as a woman means a lot. I am the Woman of Steel there.

How do you feel like unions/the USW could help in the fight for true women’s equity? Because of the union, the women have the same rights as men. The only difference is gender. There no longer is this, “You can’t do this because you are a women.” That has helped a lot of women, especially women who can do stuff better than men.

If you could describe your local union in one word, what would it be? Improving

If you had to live without either your phone, Netflix, cheese, or men, which it would be? Netflix

staceyjName: Stacey Jones

Local #: 1165

Hometown: Coatesville, Pa.

Employer: ArcelorMittal

Job title: Senior Operator Technician, Number One Screw Operator

Is this your first WOS conference? If not, when was your first? No. I have probably been to four or five.

What are you most looking forward to? I am looking forward to meeting new people and getting educated and taking information back to my local. The best part is meeting all the women and then seeing them at another conference later. I give the new people from Next Gen a hug to let them know they are welcome. That is just me. I am Miss Hospitality. It is in my blood.

What does it mean to you to be a “Woman of Steel?” Women of Steel means a lot, especially when people come up and ask me what I do in the local. I say I am the chair for the Women of Steel. Our WOS got active in the community.  We go out, for example, to people who are bereaved and take them food and flowers and fruit to comfort them a little bit. We have an opportunity to get together and discuss issues that we cannot discuss with the men.

How do you feel like unions/the USW could help in the fight for true women’s equity? I think by giving women a greater opportunity and encouraging women to get on the executive board, not just sit back, but step forward. The union encourages us. Leave it to Beaver days are over. It is time for us to step up and show our faces.

If you could describe your local union in one word, what would it be? Great

If you had to live without either your phone, Netflix, cheese, or men, which it would be? I have never watched Netflix, so I have to go with Netflix.

carolynsNameCarolyn Scott

Local #: 1165

Hometown: Coatesville, Pa.

Employer: ArcelorMittal (steel plate mill)

Job title: Test processor

Is this your first WOS conference? If not, when was your first? This is my second.

What are you most looking forward to? I am learning. It is a learning process. I will learn things to take back to the women, first of all in my company, and second of all in my community because I feel women as a whole should be supportive of each other.

What does it mean to you to be a “Woman of Steel?” What it has done for me is provide for my family, as a single parent. I feel like I am as strong as the plate I make. To be a union member is the one thing I am most proud of. I have fair wages because I work for a union shop. The union brothers before me have made a path for me to make a decent wage to take care of my family. I could not have done for my family on a minimum wage job. I would have to work two jobs at minimum wage, and then who would raise my children? Thank God I found a union job that could provide for my family. My company, by court decree, was forced to hire people of color and women, and I know that is how I got my job. They got two credits for one with me.

How do you feel like unions/the USW could help in the fight for true women’s equity? For one, we have to support each other. If one woman is fighting a battle, it belongs to us all. It starts with us supporting each other. You can network as women within Women of Steel, and if you are being discriminated against, then you call your other women and let them know this is happening. Then we as a group say, “No, you can’t do that!” If you don’t demand respect as a woman, you will never get it.

If you could describe your local union in one word, what would it be? Loyal

If you had to live without either your phone, Netflix, cheese, or men, which it would be? All of them can go. They can all go. I could drop all four of them and not look back. That is the truth.

DISTRICT 11

marketaaNameMarketa Anderson

Local #: 9349

Hometown: Chisholm, Minn.

EmployerRange Center Inc., a residential and vocational center for people with mental and physical challenges

Job title: Support Service Manager

Is this your first WOS conference? If not, when was your first? This is my second one in Canada. I have been to every one since 2002.

What are you most looking forward to? The classes: Healthy Minds and Better Care of Women’s Health and Safety.

What does it mean to you to be a “Woman of Steel?” It is important because it gives women an outlet in their unions to be active. My executive board is all women except for one man. I have an advantage because there are mostly women in the unit. My unit is one of bigger ones with 150 people, maybe 10 men. The men have to work to be active.

How do you feel like unions/the USW could help in the fight for true women’s equity? Since I have been active, I have heard how we have gotten more women in top positions, but I have not seen it. I don’t see anyone up there with Carol (Landry, USW Vice President).

If you could describe your local union in one word, what would it be? Family

If you had to live without either your phone, Netflix, cheese, or men, which it would be? Netflix

christinegName: Christine Gardiner

Local #: 11-0001 trustee and chief steward on workers’ committee

Hometown: Joliet, Mont.

Employer: Sibanye Stillwater (platinum and palladium mine, refinery and smelter)

Job title: Operator 1 in the smelter, operating the furnace, converters or in other areas

Is this your first WOS conference? If not, when was your first? This is my first International Women’s Conference but I attended a District WOS Conference.

What are you most looking forward to? Talking with other women from the mining industry and comparing notes on their process at work and working conditions and safety.

What does it mean to you to be a “Woman of Steel?” It means fighting that fight every day for future women.

How do you feel like unions/the USW could help in the fight for true women’s equity? That is a tough one. We are going to have to get creative because I don’t feel it is obvious as it used to be. It is obvious when it is equal pay. Right now, there is more inequality under the surface that we need to hash out.

If you could describe your local union in one word, what would it be? Voice

If you had to live without either your phone, Netflix, cheese, or men, which it would be? Netflix

DISTRICT 13

venessasName: Venessa Smith

Local #: 1226

Hometown: Leesville, La.

Employer: Packaging Corporation of America

Job title: Electrical and Instrumentation Mechanic

Is this your first WOS conference? If not, when was your first? Yes!

What were/are you most looking forward to? One of the things I really want to do is to learn how to handle issues of racism and to be a speaker for women’s rights.

What does it mean to you to be a “Woman of Steel?” I didn’t get involved when my union president first asked me, but then I thought I would give it a try. It has brought me out of my shell and I’ve had a lot of support from all the women at the mill.

How do you feel unions/the USW could help in the fight for true women’s equity? I think the union is doing a lot – promoting the committees. A lot of companies didn’t know the Women’s Committee was mandated. Now we can get the word out. When we do projects, people see it.

If you could describe your local union in one word, what would it be? Supportive

If you had to live without either your phone, Netflix, cheese, or men, which it would be? My phone

suewName: Sue Walton

Local #: 985 L

Hometown: Ada, Okla.

Employer: Flex-N-Gate

Job title: Press Attendant

Is this your first WOS conference? If not, when was your first? I have been to two trainings. This is my second International Women’s Conference. I attended my first in Pittsburgh two or three years ago.

What were/are you most looking forward to? The speakers are always so excellent. And the workshops are really beneficial.

What does it mean to you to be a “Woman of Steel?” It means unification of the women. I enjoy the projects that we do, such as Relay for Life that raises money for the Cancer Society and the funds are directed locally. We have done eight projects in the last two years. It’s brought recognition to our union and now the community comes to us.

How do you feel unions/the USW could help in the fight for true women’s equity? We wouldn’t have equity without the union. I know it would be totally different for women without the union.

If you could describe your local union in one word, what would it be? Necessary

If you had to live without either your phone, Netflix, cheese, or men, which it would be? Cheese


Press Inquiries

Thank You

Thank you for contacting us. We will try to get back to you in a timely manner.

Media Contacts

Communications Director:
Bob Gallagher
bgallagher@usw.ca
416-544-5966 or
416-434-2221

Communications Department:
Dominique Fontaine
commsupport@usw.ca
416-544-5991 

Communications Department - Québec
Clairandrée Cauchy
ccauchy@metallos.ca
514-774-4001 

Mailing Address

United Steelworkers
234 Eglinton Ave. E., 8th Floor
Toronto, ON M4P 1K7