Dist. 9 Women’s Committee reaches out to working women

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LODGE 660 Business Representative Ann Ballesteros (left) with the “Girls of 660,” those responsible for the success in bringing Machinists’ Union opportunities to the public at the Working Women’s Survival Show in St. Charles. Continuing from left, Local 660 members LaRhonda Golliday, Jennifer Kahl, Michelle Windmiller, Jean Moore, Kathy Beckwith and Shannon Anderson. The women work at Imperial Manufacturing and Winchester/Olin.

By MARY ANN HOLLEY
Correspondent

Michelle Windmiller, a member of Machinists Lodge 660 and Chairperson of the Machinists District 9 Women’s Committee says the Working Women’s Survival Show was a perfect place for their red ‘Rosie the Riveter’ scarves, their buttons and giveaways and especially their Union presence.

Thousands of visitors, primarily women, joined for the event, and Machinists Lodge 660 and 777 reached out telling them Unions are great for women.

THE MACHINISTS WOMEN'S COMMITTEE has gained quite a following in the two years they’ve participated in the Working Women’s Survival Show. Several Rosie the Riveter lookalikes from a club dubbed Decade Dames joined for the fun. The Local women have parlayed their passion for playing dress-up into a group that promotes friendship and charitable projects.

“All you see in the news, the media, is about strikes or contract negotiations, but there is so much more to being Union,” Windmiller said. “With our community service, disaster relief and free college, that’s what it’s all about—being unified and having a voice to improve the lives of those who need the help."

Scott Hargis, president of Lodge 777, said it was a great move to set up a booth at the Women’s Show, and the Lodge 660 women helped tremendously.

“The wonderful thing is that there were women who saw us last year and came back to see us again,” Windmiller said. “Many people told us they were proud to see the Union booth back again and stayed for a few minutes of solidarity with us.”

The women of Lodge 660 talked to visitors and invited them to join a raffle held to raise funds for a local woman’s shelter. Giveaways like Union pins and other giveaways were available to take, and the crowd was very cordial, whether they knew anything about Unions or not.

“For some, it was uplifting for them to tell us their own Union story,” Windmiller said. “Watching the smiles on faces as they left our booth was the perfect example of why we were there.”

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