April 2006 Sister of the Month

April Sister of the Month:
Eveleyna U. Washington

EveleynaWSister Eveleyna Washington has served on the Executive Board for Local Lodge 851 as Sentinel and now Trustee for the last 9 of her 31 year career as a Machinists Union member. 

As a Materials Specialists with Caterpillar, Inc., Sister Eveleyna became more involved in her local because of her association with the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU) – a national AFL-CIO constituency group seeking to bring all the strengths and varied talents of African American Trade Unionists to bear, in the unending effort to achieve economic, political and social justice for every American.  Believing that if no one stands up to speak on your issues, they won’t get addressed; Eveleyna attended meetings, became a steward, and served as a voice for the membership.

Knowing that “Quitters never win and winners never quit,” Eveleyna overcame obstacles with determination and a positive outlook.  Rather than accept defeat, she kept her focus and used the experience as a tool to decide what to do better next time.  She is a community activist and a pioneer of women’s accomplishments.  She is the first woman elected to Local 851’s Executive Board and to hold the office of Will County Deputy Registrar.  In addition, she is a National CBTU Executive Council Member and the President of the Joliet Chapter of CBTU, a lifetime member of the NAACP, as well as the chairperson of her lodge’s women’s committee.

Eveleyna recommends that anyone wanting to get more involved stand firm on issues that matter, stay focused on your goals and when faced with adversity – press forward.


Canadian Sister of the Month
Noreen Schmitt

Noreen2Sister Noreen is the Recording Secretary for Local Lodge 764 in British Columbia, Canada.  She has been an IAM member for 30 years, with 12 years experience serving on the Executive Board for her local.

As a Lead Aviation Painter for Air Canada, Noreen first became active in the union when she accepted the nomination as shop steward.  In addition, she attended weekend schools on her own time with the Canadian Labour Congress.

Grateful for her good union job that helped her raise a family and the disability plan that saw her through a long, painful disabling illness, Noreen wanted to give something back to her union.  She always did her best to fulfill her duties as shop steward and served on various committees such as Safety, Human Rights and Sick and Visiting; as well as making it a point to attend her lodge meetings.

Noreen considers herself fortunate to have the constant encouragement of many mentors.  Her hard work and dedication have lead her to be selected to serve on a Blue Ribbon Commission, elected three terms as Secretary for her local constituency for The New Democratic Party (NDP), three terms as Recording Secretary for the British Columbia Women’s Rights Committee of Provincial NDP, as well as delegate to four Grand Lodge Conventions and a host of various conferences and conventions for other Canadian labor organizations.

When thinking about getting involved with the union, Noreen advises others, “do your best… put interest of the group ahead of personal interest.  Don’t promise results you can’t produce, only promise to try your best, listen to what people have to say and get back to them as soon as possible.

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