CLUW Helps Train Next
Generation of Union Women
May 16, 2014
|Anchorage, Alaska, Local 1547 member Cody Beltrami, right, joined with fellow women trade unionists March 27-29 in Chicago for a conference marking the 40th anniversary of the Coalition of Labor Union Women.
A popular button often seen at labor rallies and conferences reads, “A woman's place is in her union.”
And as young activists go, Cody Beltrami is one member living out that sentiment.
The Anchorage, Alaska, Local 1547 member joined with fellow women trade unionists March 27-29 in Chicago for a conference marking the 40th anniversary of the Coalition of Labor Union Women.
Beltrami was among 10 winners of the Berger-Marks Foundation scholarships, which provide monetary assistance to union activists seeking to organize more women into the movement. It is named for Edna Berger – the first female lead organizer for the Newspaper Guild-CWA – and her songwriter and activist husband Gerald Marks.
Beltrami speaks highly of the leadership training that CLUW offers budding change-makers in the labor community.
“I believe CLUW does a wonderful job of arming the attendees with the knowledge and tools to make a positive change in their unions, or at least get the ball rolling to get others involved in such a movement,” she said. “They gave us a way to learn and understand important information by providing classes on how to incorporate social media in organizing, community partnership and engagement, common-sense economics and more. Having these skills and knowledge are crucial if you want to help make a positive change.”
An IBEW member since she was 18, she started her career by working for a signatory contractor before becoming a shop steward. She now serves on the Local 1547 staff.
The daughter of Alaska AFL-CIO President Vince Beltrami, a member of Local 1547, Cody has worked to chart her own path in the labor movement with an eye toward building on the gains of her forebears.
“As a young leader I am focusing on gaining support within the community and increasing participation among younger union members,” she said. “I also have hopes of working alongside the older generations and using their experiences to help us. We have a lot to learn and a lot to give. I am very honored and excited for the path I am on and for the opportunities I have been given. This is only the beginning.”
IBEW Director of Civic and Community Engagement Carolyn Williams said that the training and support offered by groups like CLUW are critical to help advance the needs of working families, especially at a time when younger workers are facing starker economic realities than in generations past.
“CLUW is a great resource to help inspire and educate women moving into leadership roles,” she said. “It has a lot to offer the younger generation.”
To learn more about the Coalition of Labor Union Women, visit www.cluw.org.