Women Describe Path Forward for Unions

by Michael Byrne  |  December 01, 2015

In an extraordinary roundtable conversation with AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders, women who lead three of the nation’s largest unions described how they became president, and the path forward for our partnership in fighting the attacks on public service workers, including the Supreme Court case in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association.

The comments by Lily Eskelsen García, president of the National Education Association, Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, and Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union, reaffirmed the commitment of the four public-sector unions to lead the fight against CEOs and corporations trying to weaken the labor movement.

“We disrupt the status quo,” AFT’s Weingarten said of the public-sector union partnership. “The things that bind us together are so much more important than the things that divide us.” SEIU’s Henry concurred. “We have each other’s backs better than I’ve ever seen in the labor movement,” Henry said.

“America is changing,” said NEA’s Eskelsen García, pointing out that all the top leaders of her union are now women of color. “Not only do women look up to us, but men are looking to us to represent them as well.”

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