Dozens of women working at Bureau of Prisons (BOP) facilities across the country recently gathered in Savannah, Ga., for a historic event – the Council of Prison Locals - Council 33’s first ever women’s conference.
The conference, Women of Excellence in Unions (WOEU), was conceived a year ago when the council determined that it needed to elevate and involve more women professionals in leadership of the council both at the national and local levels.
“We in AFGE and CPL recognized that women are often the most underrepresented, underused, and underestimated pool of talent, which in turn makes them reluctant to come forward to lead our union,” said Eric Young, president of the CPL, which represents BOP employees nationwide. “It is the Council of Prison Locals’ hope that each woman here leaves with a new sense of pride, focus, determination, and sisterhood. We are excited to start this journey with you, and we are eagerly waiting to see how this program shapes both our council and AFGE in the months and years ahead.”
Indeed, in addition to the usual and all-important union training, the ladies participated in events that empowered them and created a sisterhood that will last a lifetime.
1. Change demanded is change received
We need to be the change we want to see. More of us need to run for office in our unions and communities to bring about change.
2. Silence gets us nowhere
We must speak up when we are treated in a way that makes us uncomfortable. We must also speak up when we see another sister being hurt.
3. Help a sister out
We must remember to reach back and bring our sisters alongside of us. It is our duty to not only learn, but also to pass along that knowledge to others.
4. Self-care is the best care
Even Super Women need a break! It’s okay to let our hair down and take a time out. We can’t give to our families, communities, and union what we don’t have ourselves to give.
5. We are much more alike than we are different
We may all have different backgrounds and experiences, but the fact that we are all union sisters and the motivation behind why we do what we do are very much the same.
Our union is one of a few national unions that have an office dedicated to women at a national level. Learn more about AFGE’s Women and Fair Practices Departments here.
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