Empowering PEF women to focus on the future
By DEBORAH A. MILES
Nearly 50 PEF women from around the state gathered at PEF’s 30th annual
convention in Rochester to identify common goals and problems affecting women in
the work force.
Guest speaker Linda Donahue, director of the Online Labor Studies program at
Cornell University, talked about strategies to promote and understand women’s
leadership in unions.
According to Germaine Greco, chair of the PEF Women’s Committee, the strategies
include establishing and addressing priorities, seizing opportunities, putting
women in leadership roles, crediting women’s contributions, providing options
for more union involvement and mobilizing women.
“Networking with women from all corners of the state helped us to identify
common problems,” Greco said. “It was a lesson in empowerment, an invigorating
“Union leadership must reflect the diversity of all our members. Women are
actively organizing more and more. They have the challenge of juggling family
life while giving 100 percent at the job. We are among those with the most to
gain from union membership.”
The discussions included the future creation of a Long Island PEF Women’s
Committee which Greco said would be a “major step forward for all women living
PEF member Gail Noble, a teacher at the state Department of Correctional
Services, said the meeting provided a platform for women to learn from each
“It was amazing the number of people who participated in the flow of
communication. There was a lot of enthusiasm among the participants, and no one
wanted the meeting to end,” Noble said.
Greco said the women walked away from the meeting knowing the key to equality is
“We can’t ask more of others than what we are willing and able to do ourselves,”
Greco said. “Women have overcome many obstacles in the work force, but with
every decade, new challenges emerge. This committee is dedicated to embracing