Women's History

UE News features, interviews, and book and film reviews about Women's History.

Fifty Years Ago, Union Women Founded New Organization to Fight for Equality

March 22, 2024

Fifty years ago today, 3,200 women gathered in Chicago to found the Coalition of Labor Union Women to fight for equality in their unions and in society. Amy Newell, who served as UE General Secretary-Treasurer from 1985 to 1994, recalled that “It was really terrific to have an organization that was raising issues of women in their unions, as well as issues of women in the workplace.” But perhaps the most important legacy of CLUW is that it encouraged women not only to run for office in their unions, but also to fight for recognition that women’s issues are union issues.

Women’s Leadership Event Raises Over $2600

October 13, 2021

On Sunday, October 10, UE held its second Florence Criley Women’s Leadership Fundraiser. This event raised over $2600 to subsidize the costs of UE women attending leadership development programs. The featured speaker of this year’s event was Larsene Taylor, former president of UE Local 150 and former member of the General Executive Board (GEB), UE’s highest rank-and-file decision-making body outside of conventions.

UE Fought for Child Care as “Infrastructure” as Far Back as WWII

May 9, 2021

In their attacks on President Biden’s much-needed proposals to invest in physical and human infrastructure, the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan, many Republican politicians have derided applying the term “infrastructure” to programs that support working families. They dismiss child care, elder care and paid family leave as “liberal social programs” as opposed to the “real infrastructure” of buildings, roads, and bridges.

The experience of UE members during World War II, when millions of women took jobs in manufacturing, tells a different story.

Women’s History Month Book Review: The Domestic Politics of Organized Housewives

March 1, 2018

As the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) eagerly anticipated the June 1947 enactment of the anti-union Taft-Hartley law, they were also celebrating another, less well-remembered victory over labor. In May, the Office of Price Administration (OPA), which had regulated prices of consumer goods during and after World War II, had closed its doors.

“We Can’t Give Up, We Can Turn the Corner”: A Women’s History Month Interview with Amy Newell

March 1, 2017

To mark Women’s History Month, the UE NEWS interviewed former UE General Secretary-Treasurer Amy Newell.

Her parents, Charles and Ruth Newell, were both UE staff members when she was a child. Her father was one of the first three organizers hired by UE in 1936 and her mother became a UE organizer during World War II.

Women's History: How Young Women Shook Up GE in the '70s

February 27, 2015

In the 1970s, salaried women workers at Erie GE fought important battles for workplace equality, including two strikes in 1974 and ’75 in which they demanded equal pay for equal work. The participants in these struggles were predominantly young women, and they were influenced by the ideas of the feminist movement as well as by UE’s long-established principles of equality and rank-and-file unionism.

The Working-Class Origins and Legacy of International Women’s Day

February 28, 2014

March 8 is International Women’s Day (IWD), an annual tradition that began over a hundred years ago. While celebrations continue worldwide, few people remember that the holiday was first initiated by American Socialists. As legend would have it, they were inspired to hold a demonstration in order to mark the anniversary of an 1857 female garment workers’ strike in New York.

The Long Struggle for Voting Rights

August 20, 2012

Since the founding of the United States, working people have had to fight to win, and to keep, the right to vote. And through American history, rich and powerful people, often calling themselves "conservatives", have tried to maintain their privileges by depriving other Americans of the right to vote.