Last updated: April 17, 2011
The Edna Award will honor a young woman leader in the social justice movement who has made an extraordinary contribution early in her career, and whose achievements indicate that her work will continue to significantly improve the lives of working women and men.
The $10,000 award is named after Edna Berger, the foundation’s namesake and an early organizer at The Newspaper Guild-CWA. Applicants either applied for the award themselves or were nominated by others.
|Young woman in the Vermont Workers' Center|
The 15 grants that Berger-Marks awarded this March support exciting projects for organizing, solidarity and skills building among women activists and workers, from Vermont to Georgia to California, and even reaching as far as Canada, Honduras and Indonesia. This year we gave priority to organizing projects that not only support women organizers and/or organizing women workers, but that also focus on younger women and help them get involved and take on leadership.
We got what we asked for — 33 applications from groups, institutions and individuals — and we awarded a grand total of $122,193 to 15 of them, a record number. Some involve organizing campaigns for janitorial, preschool, restaurant and plantation workers, while others offer valuable training and help get more women involved in the skilled trades, workers centers, union educational opportunities, and leadership.
|On Mother’s Day ILRF has publicized the plight of working mothers around the world|
|W.V. Women Work|
This grant helps the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) confront the low representation of women and female role models by attracting more young women to the construction trades, and encouraging their advancement.
The painters union is using the grant to train five outstanding craftswomen members to become effective instructors in their occupations. This will not only promote workplace equality but also present role models to young workers and potential craftswomen. Becoming an instructor has traditionally been a career path for advancement in the union, and the project will show males in the Finishing Trades that women are capable of becoming successful leaders.
The instructor training involves a curriculum of courses, taught by women, in teaching techniques and OSHA at the International Training Center (ITC) in Hanover, Maryland, where participants can also get college credit. In addition, they will get ongoing support from union staff during and after the instructor training.
Emily Petrie stands up for underpaid workers in her job for the Living Wage Campaign at Northwest University, where she is Director of Research, Education, Alumni and Donor Development. She has helped win benefits for subcontracted workers, helped janitorial staff get the wages they were owed, and organizes the university community to support a living wage.
Petrie is using this Berger-Marks grant to help food service, housekeeping and janitorial workers unite against exploitation by the companies the University has subcontracted with. To rally support for this largely minority and immigrant workforce, she continues to work for the goals of the living wage campaign, and to organize among students and student groups, faculty, staff and community folks.
Petrie is also reaching out to some 2,000 university donors and alumni. She is helping plan a Living Wage Activist Conference and preparing materials for a student-organized seminar on organizing techniques.
We’d like to thank all who submitted proposals, including those that our limited funds can’t cover.
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"When I found WILD, I found 'la horma de mi zapato' — a support for my life — emotionally, professionally and as an activist. This is especially important for those of us who find ourselves in this country, far away from our families.”
— Isabel Lopez,
“Eleanor Roosevelt, one of the most admired women in the world, was a member of The Newspaper Guild for over twenty-five years and a staunch advocate for union women. Her leadership provides a human rights framework for women organizing and leading today.”
— From the book: She Was One of Us: Eleanor Roosevelt and the American Worker
Check Your Head:
Young people trained to teach thousands of others about unions
Vermont Workers' Center:
Solidarity schools help women organize for health care & unions, involve young women
Labor Education Service, University of Minnesota:
Building bridges across generations at the Union Women's Leadership Retreat
Women's Institute for Leadership Development (WILD):
Getting young women primed for leadership, & organizing for domestic workers’ rights
International Labor Rights Forum:
Research & organizing to empower women working in Honduran melon plantations
Helping women break into the skilled trades and thrive as union leaders
9to5, National Association of Working Women, Atlanta chapter:
Fair Eats campaign stands up for restaurant workers
Interfaith Worker Justice:
Local women organizers get help to attend & participate in national conference
International Union of Painters and Allied Trades:
Five union craftswomen get schooling opportunity to lead skilled trades courses
Pride At Work, AFL-CIO:
Training to help women lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) workers organize & advance
Teamster Women's Committee, Local 638:
Calendar to feature union women & the union advantage, not pin-ups
Study guide for workshop “Why Women Should Join Unions,” is based on new book
Workers' Guide to Health and Safety, will feature chapter on Work Hazards in Electronics Factories
Encouraging people to join South Carolina's Young Workers Committee
Organizing for a living wage & fighting exploitation at Northwestern University