By Dorothy Hanlon

More than 1,300 Teamsters gathered in Hollywood, CA for the 16th annual Teamsters Women's Conference. The spirit of sisterhood and solidarity was strong as the three-day event got under way. This year's conference was titled “Lights, Camera, Teamster Women in Action." The conference promotes the importance of making a difference, which can be achieved by our dedication to and determination of our union.

The conference supports the opportunity to connect, share ideas, foster resources and hone skills in all areas to strengthen our union in order to improve the daily lives of our membership.

Exhibits from the IBT’s Human Rights & Diversity Commission, Organizing Department, Safety and Health Department and several others distributed great educational materials throughout the duration of the conference.

There were a vast amount of workshops to attend. I would like to give a brief synopsis of the ones I choose to attend. The “Effective Communication and Design” session focused on the art of communication over various mediums. The workshop included how to craft effective messages in support of workers. The workshop provided training in the use of language, persuasion and the fundamentals of interactions.

The “Navigating FMLA” workshop discussed the Federal Family Medical Leave Act and other laws and policies that can help our members balance their work lives and their own or family members’ health care needs. I gained a better understanding of employee rights and obligations under the law.

The “Political & Legislative Update” workshop gave an update on the union’s federal legislative and political priorities in this U.S. presidential election year. The final workshop I attended centered on Teamster Stewards, because they are vital to the successful enforcement of collective bargaining agreements, investigating grievances and communicating with members as well as with management. The workshop reviewed some basic roles and responsibilities of Teamster Shop Stewards,

Teamsters also held a massive rally in Hollywood in support of University of California Teamsters with Local 2010 who are fighting for a fair contract. Members attending the annual Teamsters Women's Conference joined the march in solidarity with our brothers and sisters at UC! Check out the photos and read more here:

I was very proud to represent the Teamster Women of Local 804, but all the issues that were brought forward affect both our sisters and our brothers. I want respect, I want courtesy, and I want professionalism for both male and female drivers. However you look at it we are employees and we deserve respect.

The conference promotes the importance of making a difference, The difference can be achieved by dedication and determination of our union.

 Dorothy Hanlon is a UPS Package Driver, Melville Building. In addition to Hanlon, Local 804 members Sharon Joseph and Connie Brown-Lomax also participated in the 2016 IBT Women’s Conference.