Friday, January 30, 2009

Action Alert: Working Women and Families Deserve More!

Working Women and Families Deserve More!
Call your elected officials today and ask them to stand-up for
struggling women and their families!

January 27: Today the House Democrats unveiled the near-final version of the economic stimulus package known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, with a vote expected as early as tomorrow. While it contains some powerful measures that will support women and families in these trying economic times, it came up short on two fronts.

First, the bill fails to ensure that women will benefit from the investment in infrastructure and the green economy, in that it avoids setting any types of targets for women’s participation in these heavily male-dominated fields.

Second, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was stripped this afternoon of provisions that would make contraceptives more affordable to working women and families. The move was a concession to House Republicans who had been complaining about the small $200 million subsidy, and it means that many low-income women and couples will struggle to afford the means to act responsibly with regard to their families and health. Playing politics with contraception only serves to hurt those who can least afford it.

Please contact your United States Representative and Senators today and:

Ask that the stimulus package include a concrete goal of 25 percent participation by women in infrastructure, green economy, and other non-traditional jobs.

Demand that the stimulus package recognize that access to affordable contraception is key to women’s health and economic security, and ask them to reinstate funding for family planning for poor women.

Working women's issues are no different than those of all working people: getting paid a living wage, finding affordable child care and health care, sending their children to college--in short, having a chance at the American Dream.

Quick action on the economic stimulus package is critical for working families. Women deserve more, however, than we saw today. In order to achieve a truly sustainable economic recovery, we must make a commitment to the entire workforce, and working families most of all.

Please call the U.S.Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Ask the operator to connect you to your Senators and Representative.

Thank you for supporting working women and families

Irasema Garza
President, Legal Momentum

About Legal Momentum
Founded in 1970 as the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund, Legal Momentum is the nation's oldest legal advocacy organization dedicated to advancing the rights of women and girls.

New York: 395 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
Washington D.C.: 1101 14th Street, NW, Ste 300, Washington, DC 20005

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

18,000 proposed infrastructure projects: Reed Construction Data and the Economic Recovery Plan

Jan 27, 2009 - Donna Cahan

Reed Construction Data is releasing a report of over 18,000 proposed infrastructure projects across the nation that have been tagged as “ready to go” by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Projects in this report are said to meet local infrastructure needs, contribute to local economic development goals and have the ability to be funded quickly through existing federal channels. Projects have not been validated by Reed Construction Data and are released with an understanding that funding has not yet been approved.

This collection of projects is a result of four surveys of U.S. cities conducted by the Conference of Mayors over the past three months. The status of these projects has not yet been established, but Reed wants to make you aware of what has been proposed in your area.

These efforts were made possible by The United States Conference of Mayors MainStreet Economic Recovery Plan. The Conference is striving to quickly create jobs in metro areas; improve the infrastructure that the private sector needs to succeed; help the businesses of Main Street America; and produce lasting economic and environmental benefits for the nation. Download a complete overview of the MainStreet Economic Recovery Plan.

How it Works

Visitors must register before downloading Federal Stimulus Project reports. Reports are available in PDF format and are published by region: northeast, southeast, central and west. Information about each project includes title, location, value, scope and notes. All projects are in stage “Proposed Pending Funding”.

Updates to these documents will be available as new information is released into the public domain. To receive actionable, verified data — and the ability to select project types, geographies, etc. — simply provide the information requested on the linked form.

Frequently asked Questions

How do I download the Federal Stimulus Projects package?
Register or log in and select the regional Federal Stimulus Project package(s) you are interested in.

What is the cost?
Federal Stimulus Projects are free. Registration is required.

Where did these infrastructure projects come from?
These projects have been reported in four surveys of U.S. cities conducted by The United States Conference of Mayors over the past three months.

Why were these projects released?
The MainStreet Economic Recovery Plan developed by The United States Conference of Mayors calls for federal investments in 10 sectors that will quickly create jobs in metro areas, improve the infrastructure that the private sector needs in order to succeed, help the small businesses of Main Street America and produce lasting economic and environmental benefits to the nation.

Have the projects in these reports been verified?
Federal Stimulus Projects have not yet been verified by Reed Construction Data and may not proceed into funding.

What are the minimum requirements for these proposed projects?
The U.S. Conference of Mayors asked for projects that are “ready to go”, meaning they meet local infrastructure needs, contribute to local economic development, can be funded quickly through existing federal channels and can start quickly when funding is received.

Where can I find verified project information?
Reed Construction Data offers several project lead services that provide actionable and verified construction project leads. Complete the contact form and a project lead specialist will contact you. Or, call 1-800-424-3996 and reference “Federal Stimulus Projects.”

What information is available about these projects?
Listed project information includes title, location, value, scope and notes.

Is this private or public information?
All information concerning Federal Stimulus Projects is public.

How can I receive updates about these projects?
Download a project bulletin to be notified by email when Federal Stimulus Projects have been updated.

Where can I get more information about Federal Stimulus Projects?
Click here for a downloadable document regarding these projects and the MainStreet Economic Recovery Plan.

Women in Construction 30 Years & Still Organizing

Showing no terms but equal terms:
'On Equal Terms: Women in Construction 30 Years & Still Organizing'
Erica Lawton
Issue date: 1/28/09 Section: Arts

A poetry reading by Susan Eisenberg, sponsored by the Women's and Gender Studies Program, is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 6, 1 to 2:15 at the Poetry Center, Sawyer Library.

Light refreshments will be provided.

A panel presentation on the historical and legal developments affecting women in the building trades will include Susan and other speakers. The event is Friday, March 6, 1 to 2:30
PM, location TBA.

On Melinda Hernandez's first day of work on a construction site in the late 1970s, she followed instructions. Having recently completed a two-month government funded training and bought a brand new tool belt, she navigated the rough terrain to find the electrician's shanty and reported to the foreman that she was ready to work.

In her words, "He looked at me and he says, 'Yes, little girl, what is it? Did your father leave his tools home?'"

As one of the many disenfranchised voices that occupy and inform the work of artist and master electrician Susan Eisenberg, Hernandez is not alone. As a tradeswoman pioneer in the early days of government-directed employment affirmative action, however, lonesome was just the beginning.

"On Equal Terms: Women in Construction 30 Years & Still Organizing" exposes the discrepancies between public policy and on the job procedure that women in building trades have been struggling with since the first executive order mandated gender equity in hiring practices in 1978. Despite these promises of gender equality enforced through affirmative action, today women still make up no more than three percent of the workforce in construction trades.

Through poetry, nonfiction and mixed media installations, Eisenberg has channeled the hope and disappointment, the rejection and the camaraderie of working where no woman had before into a different constructed environment. The exhibit, currently on display at the Adams Gallery at Suffolk University Law School, draws on testimonies from Eisenberg's book, "We'll Call You if We Need You: Experiences of Women Working Construction," a New York Times notable work of 1999, and poems excerpted from "Pioneering: Poems from the Construction Site," a collection she published in 1998, as well as interactive pieces reflective of her trade.

Two bright yellow ladders marked by caution tape lend themselves to a break in the removable tile ceiling while words on separate steps inquire, "How High Can You Reach Now," in a piece that addresses the (dis)advantages of physical size on the job.

A bridge is built on a pastel frosted cake, with support beams of rainbow twizzlers, flanked by mini plastic hammers, screwdrivers and wrenches. Pink icing on the sides of the confection says proudly, "My kids know which bridges in town are mine," reflecting the dual duties of tradeswomen mothers.

Next door Eisenberg has built a mock-up of a construction site toilet shanty, constructed of rough plywood and decorated with lewd graffiti typical of a working man's Port-a-Potty. Complete with an actual toilet, viewers are invited to hunker down and listen via headphones, coming from the first aid kit attached to the wall, to the many tradeswomen Eisenberg has interviewed over the years.

The artist explained in a phone conversation this past Monday that she was hoping the shack would, "give people a little window into that vulnerability," felt by the women who faced raw, often graphic discrimination daily.

In addition to working as an electrician and a tradeswoman activist for 15 years, Eisenberg received her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Warren Wilson College in North Carolina and went on to travel as a lecturer with a special focus on labor and women's rights. Since 1987 she has been teaching as the College of Public and Community Service at the University of Massachusetts Boston, where she met Patricia Reeve, assistant professor at Suffolk specializing in working class and labor history and histories of gender and women. The two quickly became friends, bonding over joint interests and work experience working toward labor and gender equality.

Now acting as Humanist for On Equal Terms, which is funded by the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities and Public Policy and sponsored by the Center for Women's Studies at Brandeis University, Reeves has helped facilitate the installation here at Suffolk University.

Describing her friend's work as an articulation of the struggle to "reconcile political ideals and our social realities," Reeves believes that there is still much work to be done in the fight for equity. While most who enter the gallery will likely have no familiarity with construction or working a trade, Reeves hopes that they realize that injustice permeates every career path.

"If the threshold for equity is low in one sector of the workforce it is low everywhere," she said, reinforcing the need for solidarity amongst women and their male allies.

Change may be on the tip of the nation's tongue today, but both Eisenberg and Reeves realize the great challenge in transforming political rhetoric into public action. While struggling to meet that demand, the voices of the forerunners of the cause may help to build hope.

As Melinda Hernandez said, "All these things are just fighting for your rights. But to them, it's radical, because you're making them face the fact that you're here to stay. And not on their terms, on equal terms."

A poetry reading by Susan Eisenberg, sponsored by the Women's and Gender Studies Program, is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 6, 1 to 2:15 at the Poetry Center, Sawyer Library. Light refreshments will be provided.

A panel presentation on the historical and legal developments affecting women in the building trades will include Susan and other speakers. The event is Friday, March 6, 1 to 2:30 PM, location TBA.

On Equal Terms: Women in Construction 30 Years & Still Organizing

Remember the ladies for this Economic Stimulus Plan

guest commentary
Remember the ladies
By Jared Polis
Posted: 01/27/2009 12:30:00 AM MST

"In the new code of laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make, I desire you would remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors."
— Abigail Adams to John Adams, March 31, 1776

The economic recovery package before Congress this week is largely devoted to infrastructure investment — transportation and school projects, energy-efficiency improvements, and green economy investments such as smart grid expansions — to jump-start our economy and create hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Unfortunately, while President Barack Obama is to be applauded for proposing such a robust investment, the proposed infrastructure spending overwhelmingly benefits men and won't be of much help to unemployed women. Without efforts to increase workforce diversity, this could lead to a massive shift of hundreds of billions of dollars of wealth from women to men.

Public works spending during the New Deal disproportionately employed men, but women comprised only 22 percent of the workforce in 1930. Doing nothing to redress this inequity was a mistake then and it would be an even greater mistake now.

Today, women make up nearly half — 46 percent — of the total U.S. labor force, but only 9.4 percent of the construction industry. While the overall unemployment rates of women and men have been similar since 2000, women with children experience much higher unemployment rates. Worse still, there is evidence that women who lose their jobs face a harder time finding new jobs than their male counterparts.

We must not let this gender imbalance lessen the impact of this much-needed investment or hinder our economic recovery. A few simple steps, if incorporated into the economic recovery package, could help ensure that infrastructure investment can and will benefit women.

First, we should expand the U.S. Department of Labor's Women in Apprenticeship and Non-traditional Occupations (WANTO) grant program that "awards competitive grants to recruit, hire, train, and retain women in apprenticeships and non-traditional occupations."

The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Improvement Act of 2006 allows states to use funds for "preparing students for employment in fields that are traditionally dominated by one gender." Not only should funding for the Perkins Act increase, but the program should be more narrowly geared toward gender diversification in infrastructure-related jobs through gender equity set-asides and the reestablishment of equity coordinators.

Second, we should increase the targets for female employment by federal construction contractors and require them to design and implement plans for hiring and retaining qualified female workers. Selection criteria for contracts could include assessments of these strategies and past performance. The Office of Federal Contract Compliance should rigorously enforce implementation.

Third, we should provide incentives for companies employing women. The Work Opportunity Tax Credit encourages employers to hire members of families receiving benefits under the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program, among other disadvantaged populations, whose beneficiaries are overwhelmingly women. Increasing the size of the credit would make it an even stronger incentive for employers.

These steps can be implemented swiftly. During World War II, with the urgent need to ramp up war production, women entered traditionally male jobs that necessitated skilled training — welding, iron molding, skilled machine work — within months.

We must ensure that the biggest jobs program since the Great Depression does not redistribute America's wealth away from women and funnel their federal taxes and debt obligations into paying for jobs for men.

Incorporating these changes would meet both the immediate needs of the recovery package and the long-term goals of improving the skill and preparation of our workforce by offering a future filled with greater economic security for women and their families.

U.S. Rep. Jared Polis represents Colorado's 2nd District.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Stimulus plan includes billions for new construction and jobs

January 27 2009


Media General News ServiceWASHINGTON -- The ambitious $825 billion economic stimulus plan the House will vote on Wednesday blends new spending on everything from construction projects to unemployment aid with tax cuts for both individuals and businesses.

Democrats who control Congress contend the bill will create or save up to 4 million jobs, provide immediate tax breaks for 95 percent of workers and jumpstart the economy.

Many congressional Republicans oppose the recovery package, however, saying it needs more tax cuts and less spending. Overall, the plan contains about $275 billion in tax cuts, about one third of the overall package.

President Barack Obama, after meeting Tuesday with House Republicans on Capitol Hill, said “there are some legitimate philosophical differences.” But he said his main message to the Republicans was that “statistics every day underscore the urgency of the economic situation” and “the American people expect action.”

Here’s a glimpse of some of the key items in the House bill, according to a synopsis provided Tuesday by Speaker Nancy Pelosi to House members. The Senate has its own stimulus plan that is expected to come up for a vote early next month.

Unemployed workers
-- Helps an estimated 8.5 million people keep health care coverage after job losses.
-- Provides a 65 percent subsidy for COBRA health benefit premiums for up to 12 months for people who involuntarily lose their jobs between Sept. 1, 2008, and Dec. 31, 2009. COBRA currently provides temporary coverage but is expensive. A typical family premium costs over $1,000 a month.
-- Extends through December 2009 unemployment benefits that are scheduled to phase out at the end of March for 3.5 million unemployed workers.
-- Increases unemployment benefits by $25 a week for 20 million unemployed workers.
-- Increases food stamp benefits by more than13 percent.
-- Increases funding by more than $1 billion for other food assistance, such as afterschool meals, food for the homeless and hungry and Meals on Wheels.
-- Provides more than $4.1 billion for job training and related programs.

-- Creates an estimated 1.5 million jobs, about half the jobs the plan proposes.
-- Rebuilds roads, bridges and public buildings as well as cleans up the environment.
-- States have told Congress they have 5,100 projects – costing $64 billion – that could be under contract within 180 days. States must designate half the highway and transit money for projects within six months or the Department of Transportation can reclaim the funds.
-- Sets aside $10 billion to build mass transit and rail
-- Upgrades federal buildings and makes them energy efficient, saving taxpayers $2 billion a year.
-- Modernizes water systems and strengthens environmental cleanup.

Health care
-- Saves or creates an estimated 250,000 jobs in health care and education.
-- Provides an estimated $87 billion in additional federal matching funds to help states maintain their Medicaid programs in the face of massive state budget shortfalls, over a two-year period. (Medicaid is the health insurance program that serves low-income families and individuals, as well as people with disabilities, pregnant women and those in nursing homes.)
-- Includes $600 million for the training of doctors, dentists and nurses.
-- Provides $3 billion for a new prevention and wellness fund.
-- Includes $1.5 billion for community health centers.

-- Creates more than 500,000 energy-related jobs.
-- Includes $500 million to train workers for green-collar jobs.
-- Provides $11 billion to improve electricity systems’ efficiency and reliability through a “Smart Grid Investment Program.”
-- Creates temporary loan guarantees for up to $80 billion for renewable energy power generation and electric transmission projects.
-- Encourages states to update energy-efficient building codes and regulatory policies and provides new modernization repair programs for schools and colleges.
-- Provides consumer rebates to buy energy-efficient appliances.
-- Expands tax credits through 2010 for purchases such as new furnaces, energy-efficient windows, doors and insulation.
-- Expands aid per household for more than 1 million modest-income families who improve energy efficiency in their homes through weatherization.

Scientific research and space
-- Creates more than 949,000 jobs through $40 million in investments in IT network infrastructure.
-- Provides $10 billion for scientific research, including investments at the National Science Foundation. That would include supporting 3,000 new NSF research awards and immediately put to work 12,750 senior scientists, as well as undergraduate- graduate- and post-graduate level researchers.
-- Provides $600 million to National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), including $400 million to put more scientists to work on climate change research.
-- Includes $400 million for the construction and development of major research facilities that perform “cutting-edge” research.
-- Includes $2 billion for the National Institutes of Health, including $1.5 billion for expanding biomedical research.
-- Provides $6 billion for extending broadband and wireless services to underserved communities.

-- Saves or creates an estimated 250,000 jobs in education and health care.
-- Provides $20 billion to modernize schools and colleges nationwide.
-- Increases tax credits, grants, work-study programs and loans for students.
-- Provides Head Start $2.1 billion in additional funding.
-- Includes $2 billion in grants for childcare for low-income working families.
-- Establishes a fund to prevent education cuts and layoffs in states.

Tax credits and cuts for individuals
-- The proposal claims 95 percent of workers would receive a refundable tax credit of $500 per worker or $1,000 per couple filing jointly. The credit phases out at $100,000 for single filers and $200,000 for couples filing jointly.
-- Expands the child tax credit and the earned-income tax credit.
-- Enhances the current $7,500 credit for first-time homebuyers by removing the repayment requirement.

Tax incentives for businesses
-- Allows businesses to write off 90 percent of losses incurred in 2008 and 2009 against taxes assessed over the past five years. Businesses that receive bailout funds would be ineligible.
-- Helps businesses recover costs of new capital investments.
-- Doubles the amount small businesses can write off for capital investments and for purchase of new equipment in 2009.

Tax incentives for energy efficiency
-- Extends and expands tax credits for energy-efficient home improvements
.-- Extends tax credits for producers of alternative-energy sources.
-- Creates a tax credit for alternative-energy research and development.
-- Increases incentives to install alternative fuel pumps.

Contact Billy House at 202-662-7673 or
Contact Amy Dominello at 202-662-7671 or
Read the bill online.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

EPA Grant Awarded to Oregon Tradeswomen

Green Job Training for Portland: EPA Grant Awarded to Oregon Tradeswomen

Release date: 01/15/2009

Contact Information: Contact: Laura Caparroso, (206) 553-6378,; Judy Smith, (503) 326-6994,

(Portland, Oregon - January 15, 2009) A Portland nonprofit organization will continue their mission to provide the local workforce with environmental cleanup skills thanks to a $200,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Today, Elin Miller, EPA's Regional Administrator, announced that Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc. (OTI) has been awarded a Brownfields Job Training Grant.

Using the grant funding, OTI will train 120 participants during eight six-week sessions. Students will be recruited locally from low-income, minority, unemployed or underemployed female populations. Trainees will receive Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) certification, as well as a certification of graduation from a state approved pre-apprentice program, and training in specialized knowledge of Brownfields problems and solutions.

"This Brownfields Job Training Grants provides a twofold benefit for the Portland metro area," said EPA’s Miller. “First, this grant helps build a skilled and productive workforce and then those skilled workers make their communities safer by sampling for and removing environmental hazards such as asbestos, chemicals, lead, and mold.”

Following completion of the course, at least 78 trainees will be placed in environmental jobs, and OTI will track their progress for at least two years. OTI has developed partnerships with labor unions that operate apprenticeship programs and with potential employers.

Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc. received one of 13 grants awarded nationally today by EPA. OTI has received previous grants through this program in 2007 and 2004.

For additional information about the EPA Brownfields Job Training program, visit:
For additional information about EPA activities in the Pacific Northwest visit:

Below is the national announcement attached for your information:

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

$2.6 Million for Brownfields Environmental Job Training

Contact: Latisha Petteway, (202) 564-4355 /

(Washington, D.C. – Jan. 15, 2009) Thirteen communities in 12 states will share $2.6 million in job training grants geared toward cleaning up contaminated properties and turning them into productive community assets. EPA’s Brownfields Program is awarding grants of $200,000 each to non-profit organizations, workforce investment boards, and state and local governments. The grants will teach environmental assessment and cleanup job skills to individuals living in areas near brownfields sites in Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Oregon, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.

“EPA’s Brownfields Program is helping revitalize and restore neighborhoods nationwide,” said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. “These grants will help community members convert contaminated land into sources of public pride.”

Since 1998, EPA has awarded more than $25 million in brownfields job training funds. More than 4,000 people have completed training programs, with more than 3,000 obtaining employment in the environmental fields, earning an average wage of $13.84 per hour. The program is designed to ensure that the economic benefits derived from brownfields redevelopment remain in the affected communities. In 2002, the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act was passed to help states and communities around the country clean up and revitalize brownfields sites.

EPA’s brownfields program encourages redevelopment of America’s estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites. Since the beginning of the program, EPA has awarded more than 1,400 assessment grants totaling approximately $337 million, 240 revolving loan fund grants totaling more than $233 million, and 530 cleanup grants totaling approximately $99 million. EPA’s brownfields assistance has attracted more than $12.7 billion in private investment and helped create more than 53,000 jobs.

Information on January 2009 grant recipients:

Information on brownfields job training grants:

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Sunday, January 11, 2009

First Woman Carpenter Apprentice in Orange County California, Judi Burgess

Title: Judi Burgess, first female carpenter apprentice in Orange County, Calif., 1963

Published caption: GIRL APPRENTICE-Judi Burgess puts in a full day as a carpenter's apprentice, swinging a 28-oz. hammer. She's first girl apprentice in the county.

Publication: Los Angeles Times

Publication date: October 27, 1963

Source: Los Angeles Times photographic archive, UCLA Library. Copyright Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library

Plan aimed to support women in skilled trades-Canada

Plan aimed to support women in skilled trades The Telegram

The provincial government announced today an initiative designed to increase the number of women registering for skilled trades programs in the province and successfully completing their apprenticeship training.

The Department of Education recently signed a $100,000 contract with the Carpenters Millwright Union in this regard.

Education Minister Joan Burke said the goal is to increase female participation in non-traditional skilled trades.

“We have now entered into our second contract to enhance the placement of female apprentices in the workplace,” Burke said. “With this funding, the union will establish an office of women in apprenticeship, develop an inventory of women apprentices, and establish a work-placement program to ensure women apprentices are finding the training they need to complete their programs.”

Burke said the union will also work with employers and companies to ensure their commitments to hiring women apprentices have been met. In addition, the union will design a provincial awareness campaign highlighting the need to expand female participation in apprenticeship, targetting post-secondary institutions, workplaces, industry associations and trade unions.

Women did more than just rivet in WWII — they changed the workplace

MY TURN:Like Rosie, they did more than just rivet in WWII — they changed the workplace
By Angie Erceg
Posted: 01/06/2009 10:58:20 PM PST

Mama started as a carpenter's helper and one of the carpenters, Anthony Erceg, later became my father-in-law...

Mama said when she first wore pants, she would walk backward so that male
workers would not see her derriere in the pants.

When World War II broke out, men were either drafted or enlisted, and there was soon a shortage of manpower at the defense plants and other vital companies working for the war effort on the home front.

The railroad had to keep running 24/7. There was a critical shortage of men, and very soon women were hired to continue in their positions.

Mama Kate Bosnich worked both in fruit and fish canneries before the war. When the war started, Mama and many other women were hired by the Southern Pacific Railroad in their San Francisco train yard to do manual, heavy-duty labor.

Mama started as a carpenter's helper and one of the carpenters, Anthony Erceg, later became my father-in-law.

They worked around dangerous machinery in the mill shop and were told they couldn't continue to work in their cute, flimsy Mode O' Day (a popular low-budget chain of stores) cotton house dresses.

They were ordered to wear heavy-duty bib overalls or slacks with tucked-in blouses or sweaters.

Well, this didn't go over big at all with the women, who had never worn slacks before, or their spouses.

How did the women resolve the problem and still abide by the dress code? The ladies had friends in the car shop, where they made and repaired window shades and seat covers for the passenger cars. The fabric was made of a heavy leather-type material that would not be hazardous around machinery. The ladies sweet-talked the men into making bib-type,
wraparound aprons from the material they were using for windows and seats that would cover most of the body -- and it worked.

Mama said when she first wore pants, she would walk backward so that male workers would not see her derriere in the pants.

The apron became part of their work uniforms, and no one was injured from flimsy clothing being caught in the machinery. They also had to wear a bandana covering or "snood" to keep their hair from falling into their eyes or getting tangled in the machinery.

Mama was later promoted to the toolshed. When she was told she would be working there, she told her boss, "But me don't know how to read or write!"

The boss said, "Kate, you know your numbers and your tools, and that is all you need."

He sat her down at a huge mahogany desk in a very small storage shed converted into a toolshed and handed her a gold pen. Mama said she sat and looked at the pen in awe for the longest time.
Tools were very scarce during the war, and they were disappearing daily. Mama's job was to hand the tools to employees when they arrived to work, with a chit and the number of tools given to them. They could not leave work until they returned tools and chits to Mama. Mama was proud that the tools stopped disappearing under her watchful eye.

Did Mama wear the slacks and wraparound apron in the toolshed? Of course. As long as she was working for the railroad during war, she abided by the safety rules of the Southern Pacific Railroad.

All the ladies in the train yard worked very hard for the war effort. Like Rosie the Riveter, they were loyal and proud of their accomplishments. They were doing a man's job until the war ended and the men returned to the jobs they left to fight for their beloved America during World War II.

Angie Erceg is a 48-year San Pedro resident and a retired ombudsman from San Pedro Peninsula Hospital.
Like Rosie, they did more than just rivet in WWII — they changed ...

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

New Year's News Stories for Women and Minority Owned Contractors

City's New Program Aims to Help Minority, Women-Owned Businesses-Norwalk, CT
By Nicole Rivard
Posted: 01/02/2009 04:54:17 PM EST

As a small business owner in Norwalk for the past couple of years, Ernie Dumas admits he's struggled from time to time in terms of growing his business. But the owner of Ernie's Handyman Services was excited Monday morning about a new construction management training program the city is offering to help small minority-owned businesses like his as well as women-owned businesses.

Norwalk Common Council President Rev. Phyllis Bolden called the program excellent for women and minority business because it will allow them to become more confident and go toward the bidding process so they can secure a part of what is going on in terms of construction in Norwalk.

The cost of the program has not been determined. For information, call Sally Johnson at 854-7810, ext. 46778.

Economic stimulus could lift up some minorities-Minneapolis, Minn.
by Dan Olson, Minnesota Public Radio
December 29, 2008

There are very large numbers being tossed around to describe the size of the stimulus package under construction in Washington, D.C.

They range from $600 to $850 billion. That amount of money could create millions of jobs.
A new Minnesota coalition wants to make sure minorities and women are included in the hiring. One of the architects of the effort is a veteran organizer and north Minneapolis educator.

Many assume some federal stimulus money will be funneled through state agencies including state transportation departments for roads and bridges.

King, who is CEO and president of Summit Academy OIC, a north Minneapolis vocational training center, wants to make sure the Minnesota Department of Transportation meets federal and state rules for hiring.

The rule requires states receiving federal dollars and the contractors they do business with to make a good faith effort to direct 10 percent of the money to women and minority owned businesses.

MnDOT in recent years has fallen far short of the goal. The agency is attempting to improve its performance. MnDOT set a 15 percent goal for this fiscal year.

The HIRE MN goal for the agency, Louis King says, is 25 percent.

Oregon must invest in a diverse work force
by Annette Talbott, Guest opinion
Tuesday December 23, 2008, 5:48 PM

Hope is on the way. We are seemingly poised to make large public investments in renewable energy, roads and ports and other infrastructure to create jobs to stimulate the economy. As part of that stimulus strategy, the challenge is to lift all boats in the process, including those of women and minorities.

President John F. Kennedy once said, "A rising tide lifts all boats." Well, we're still fighting against the tide with women and people of color disproportionately sinking into poverty. Yet public investments will most likely be targeted largely to construction, an industry that doesn't have a very diverse workforce. So let's make investments and commitments to lift all boats by adopting a diversity initiative.

Oregon's past construction investments demonstrate why we need such an initiative. Five years into a billion-dollar public construction program, diversity outcomes for contracting, the workforce and for training are all in need of significant improvement.

In construction contracting, a recent report demonstrates that a substantial disparity exists in prime contracting for minority- and women-owned firms, as well as in subcontracting for African and Asian Americans in Portland. We must improve.

In jobs and workforce training, women and minorities are underrepresented in construction jobs and as apprentices on public works programs, compared to their numbers in registered apprenticeship programs or those in the general population.

True, there are public construction projects in which diversity results were impressive -- TriMet's Interstate Max light rail, King County and the Port of Seattle, for example. But we should focus on improving results, which means not affixing blame and not making excuses.

Oregon's commitment to improving diversity should involve serious financial investments in increasing opportunities for women and minorities in: 1) public contracting and public investments; 2) good-paying trade jobs; and 3) apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs, the pathway to construction. Those experienced in preparing women and minorities for construction should be integrally involved in designing these programs.

A diversity initiative must involve: 1) investing in improved outcomes for training women and minorities for jobs, including input from communities where the projects are developed; 2) using contracting methods that allow for more inclusiveness and firm diversity targets; 3) wisely directing the use of apprentices and training dollars with firm training and diversity targets; and 4) requiring monthly diversity performance reports and improvement plans. Finally, when bids or proposals by prime contractors on public jobs are evaluated, look at their past record in contracting with or hiring minorities and training workers using apprentices. Evaluate this record just like their safety record.

Washington state has taken positive steps by requiring apprentices on many public projects, supporting apprenticeship goals on renewable energy projects and establishing a Green Jobs program with funded training for green jobs, including women and minorities and disadvantaged populations.

Oregon's goal should be to create opportunity for all, require responsibility from all, and build a sense of community for all.

Annette Talbott is president of Talbott Consulting and previously was Oregon's deputy labor commissioner and a gubernatorial workforce policy coordinator.

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