Just a block south of the U.S. Capitol, the Machinists Union’s Political and Legislative Department is hard at work, making sure our members’ concerns are top priority. Part of the job includes networking and lobbying through groups like Women of Labor. “So, the Women of Labor is an organization of women who work on the Hill, they handle political and legislative issues and we meet monthly with the women of Congress,” said Monica Silbas, Asst. Director of the IAM Political and Legislative Department.
Members of Congress often walk over for meetings like this and special events, making themselves available for questions, concerns and feedback, whether it’s in the IAM townhouse or outside on a summery day. “It’s very important that we support and encourage our women lobbyists, as women we need our voices heard,” said IAM General Secretary Treasurer Dora Cervantes. “As caregivers and mothers, we’re passionate about things that affect and impact our families’ everyday life as well, as in the workplace, so it’s very important that we get out first and have our voices heard.”
Mixing, mingling, communicating and brainstorming, women from two different worlds, meet halfway, to find common ground, in a world struggling to find balance. “Right now, they’re doing the appropriations bill. Defense is very important to the Machinists Union, we have a lot of members that work in defense, so we’re trying to get the funding to make sure our destroyers are built, our planes, our military planes are built, ammunition. So we need funding for all that and Congress has to approve that. That’s the big thing I’m lobbying them on this time.”
“I am so glad these discussions are taking place because now we can turn ideas into action,” said IAM Communications Representative Tanya Hutchins. The art of talking to each other, face-to-face, still works. Valana Cochran, Machinists News Network.