Session Type(s): Panel
Starts: Thursday, Jul. 16 6:45 PM (Eastern)
Ends: Thursday, Jul. 16 8:00 PM (Eastern)
Room: 222 AB
This panel will explore the unique opportunities and challenges women face while leading the labor movement. Some of the most innovative worker organizing strategies of the 21st century labor movement are being led by women. From the building trades and taxi worker organizing to domestic worker organizing , the labor movement is under attack. These women are re-inventing and growing the labor movement by building worker power in sectors and industries that have been deeply dominated by men. How do they do it? How do they balance their aspirations and commitment to visions of collective worker power and their personal lives? Who are their mentors?
Elizabeth Shuler is the secretary-treasurer/chief financial officer of the AFL-CIO, one of three top-level officers for the federation and the first-ever woman elected to the position. Coming from Portland, Oregon, Ms. Shuler has been at the forefront of such progressive labor initiatives as green jobs programs and the fight for workers’ rights, starting as a political activist and an organizer at the local union level. Ms. Shuler worked her way up through the ranks of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), from Local Union 125 to the executive leadership at the international headquarters. Ms. Shuler chairs the AFL-CIO Executive Council Committee on Finance, oversees the federation’s internal operations and leads the federation’s young worker and women’s initiatives and its repositioning efforts. Secretary-Treasurer Shuler represents the AFL-CIO on various boards and committees, such as the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust and the Women’s Committee of the International Trade Union Confederation.
Carmen Berkley currently serves as the Managing Director for Planned Parenthood Action Fund. Over 15 years of experience, Carmen has served as the President of the United States Student Association, Field Director at NAACP and Choice USA, Digital Strategist at AFSCME, Executive Director at the Generational Alliance, and most recently Director of Civil, Human and Women’s Rights at the AFL-CIO, where she led an effort to develop a racial justice and criminal justice platform for the labor movement, and la large scale effort to build the electoral capacity of people of color and women. Carmen is the a co-host and producer on WPFW FM, shes been seen as a political commentator on MTV and TVOne, and she is frequently quoted and writes for magazines and blogs. She is on the Board of Directors for Congressional Black Caucus Institute, Advocates for Youth and the League of Young Voters.
Nikki Fortunato Bas is the Executive Director of the Partnership for Working Families, a network of coalitions who harness the power of cities and transform our economy, environment and democracy. She joined the Partnership after serving as the Executive Director of one of its founding affiliates, the East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy (EBASE), and as PWF’s Board Chair. She brings over 20 years of experience in labor-community coalition building and campaigning around economic development, worker and immigrant rights, and environmental justice. She played leadership roles in EBASE’s ground-breaking good jobs agreement for the redevelopment of the Oakland army base, Sweatshop Watch’s landmark joint liability law for California’s garment industry, and the formation of worker centers in Los Angeles and San Francisco. She serves as a board member of the Asian Pacific Environmental Network.
Andrea Cristina Mercado, Executive Director of Florida Rising, leads scaled civic engagement programs, and strategic campaigns that center Black and brown communities. Florida Rising is the result of the merger of New Florida Majority and Organize Florida. Under her leadership New Florida Majority registered over 150,000 Floridians to vote. The daughter of immigrants from South America, who made South Florida home, Andrea has been organizing in communities of color and immigrant communities for twenty years, she helped build Mujeres Unidas y Activas in the San Francisco Bay Area. Andrea is one of the co-founders of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and led the California Domestic Worker Coalition, a statewide effort to include domestic workers in labor laws, which successfully passed Domestic Worker Bill of Rights Legislation in 2013, seven states have now passed similar legislation. She went on to lead nationally recognized campaigns for immigrant and worker rights such as We Belong Together, and the 100 women 100 mile pilgrimage for migrant dignity. She is a graduate of Brown University, Fulbright Scholar and Emily’s list awardee, recently named best South Florida Activist by the Miami New Times.