San Diego's Craig Leedham on Where the Labor Movement Meets Women's Rights

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Information about San Diego's Craig Leedham on Where the Labor Movement Meets Women's Rights
News & Politics

Published on March 4, 2014

Author: CraigLeedham



Women in the labor movement are beginning to tackle longstanding problems in the workplace. Among these are paid sick days and sustainable care-giving models. More importantly, they are gathering support for these movements at unheard of rates with explosive organizing models.

Craig Leedham currently resides in San Diego, CA. His professional career spans work in academic research and sociology, as well as professional experience in applied research and organized labor. Leedham co-authored three editions of a leading undergraduate textbook in sociology, as well as applying his academic interests in social movements and social research in a number of professional contexts that include work with state government in Washington, two research universities (Colorado State University and Arizona State University), and numerous education labor associations.

Labor  Movement  Meets  Women’s   Rights   By  Craig  Leedham   February  27,  2014     Women  in  the  labor  movement  are   beginning  to  tackle  longstanding   problems  in  the  workplace.  Among   these  are  paid  sick  days  and   sustainable  care-­‐giving  models.   More  importantly,  they  are   gathering  support  for  these   movements  at  unheard  of  rates  with   explosive  organizing  models.     Women  in  the  workplace  justice   campaigns  will  keep  the  women’s   movement  traveling  forward,  rather   than  stalling.  Both  movements,  the   women’s  movement  and  the  labor   movement,  could  benefit  from   having  more  women  in  the   leadership.  Combining  these  two   movements  for  the  sole  purpose  of   abolishing  rape  and  sexual  assault  in   the  workplace  could  have  a   tremendous  outcome.  The  combined   power  will  open  up  avenues  for  marginalized  voices,  broaden  the  anti-­‐rape   movement  to  include  economic  justice  issues,  and  reframe  the  anti-­‐rape  movement   under  the  eye  of  labor.     This  alliance  is  beginning  already.  For  the  past  year  the  Coalition  Against  Workplace   Sexual  Violence  (CAWSV)  and  Rape  Victim  Advocates  met  once  a  month  in  Chicago.   Labor  organizers  in  Chicago,  like  the  Chicago  Coalition  of  Household  Workers,  the   Latino  Union,  ARISE-­‐Chicago,  and  Centro  de  Trabajadores  Unidos  have  been   meeting  with  anti-­‐rape  activists  and  government  officials  to  connect  the  anti-­‐rape   and  labor  movements  with  conversation,  collaborative  education  for  workers  and   activists,  and  resource  sharing.     When  the  Coalition  Against  Workplace  Sexual  Violence  (CAWSV)  was  founded  they   were  very  fervent  in  their  desire  to  bring  attention  to  sexual  violence  towards  their   members  at  work  and  at  home.  In  the  beginning  it  was  just  a  place  to  share  

resources  and  referrals  to  other  organizations  for  help.  Slowly  they  began  to  form   strong  relationships  with  other  anti-­‐rape  organizations  and  with  them  created  a   forty-­‐page  curriculum  on  workplace  sexual  violence.  They  launched  the  curriculum   last  year  in  the  offices  of  the  Latino  Union.  Feedback  from  the  launch  was  mixed,   some  very  positive,  and  other  felt  like  they  needed  to  do  more.   The  launch  promoted  discussion  between  the  women’s  rights  and  labor  advocates   as  they  worked  out  what  the  real  goal  of  the  program  was.  Was  it  to  educate   workers  about  workplace  sexual  violence  so  they  could  take  preventative  action  or   was  it  to  offer  a  place  of  healing  for  survivors?  Could  they  do  both?  Both   organizations  ultimately  agreed  to  work  on  the  healing  and  empowerment  of   survivors  while  showing  respect  for  the  ideas  and  concerns  of  their  cross  movement   counterparts.     The  combined  powers  of  women’s  rights  and  labor  advocates  has  helped  to  combat   the  problems  of  sex  inequality  and  sexual  violence  against  low  wage  workers.  The   energy  and  speed  with  which  the  labor  movement  has  been  operating  is  now   infiltrating  rape  crisis  centers  and  spreading  the  word.  The  key  to  the  whole   movement  is  the  more  empowered  the  worker,  the  less  likely  they  are  to  put  up   with  sexual  violence.     Craig  Leedham  currently  resides  in  San  Diego,  CA.  His  professional  career  spans  work   in  academic  research  and  sociology,  as  well  as  professional  experience  in  applied   research  and  organized  labor.  Leedham  co-­‐authored  three  editions  of  a  leading   undergraduate  textbook  in  sociology,  as  well  as  applying  his  academic  interests  in   social  movements  and  social  research  in  a  number  of  professional  contexts  that   include  work  with  state  government  in  Washington,  two  research  universities   (Colorado  State  University  and  Arizona  State  University),  and  numerous  education   labor  associations.  

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