Day 5: Workers Uniting Women Unite

A delegation from United Steelworkers Women of Steel (WOS) participated in the Unite Women’s Week activities in Eastbourne, the United Kingdom. Below is their final report on the week’s activities. Other reports are available at

Baroness Thornton

Ann Flener-GittlenIt’s hard to believe that this week is coming to an end.  We have had a wonderful learning and bonding experience with our Unite sisters.  Baroness Thornton of the House of Lords addressed our conference and our delegation was invited to sit with her at lunch.  I was so very much impressed with her because I knew she truly understood workers’ issues.  She spoke about how austerity (cuts) affects women disproportionately in so many different ways:  When street lights are turned off and train stations close, working women have to walk further in the dark and subjected to more danger;  Cuts in work, hours, and child care are equal to pay cuts on women’s income (family income)…no different than what we face in the U.S.  She said “we owe it to ourselves and our colleagues to protect them and build for our future.” 

- Ann Flener-Gittlen, USW Women of Steel Director, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania U.S.A.

Linda LucasThe Eastbourne Centre is a learner-friendly laid out training facility from the break-out rooms to the tea area – and the cleanly kept sleeping rooms, the Channel-view is a wonderful bonus. 

- Linda Lucas, President USW Local 13702, Troy, Michigan U.S.A.

Rebecca PriceSimilar to our Women of Steel Health & Safety training, we practiced body-mapping “injuries to workers” by work sector today in class.  It was interesting to learn about bus drivers, cashiers, and pharmaceutical workers here in the UK.  People get hurt at work the world over and we need to continue in our endeavor for safer workplaces. 

- Rebecca Price, USW Local 1000, Corning, New York U.S.A.

Kristine PearsonNoticing Pain Matters!  Wait 10, 15, or 20 years and those pains will become symptoms/surgeries/illnesses.  Our speaker, Susan Murray, spoke about body mapping, a technique or survey-type, which has proven successful in terms of making real differences in workers’ health.  Because it works, employers have realized that changing injurious workplace processes can result in healthier employees, but also - their favorite – saving money!  Noticing pain early on matters! 

- Kristine Pearson, USW Local 1998, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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