Unemployed Women Needed: UUW

December 27, 2016

I was once part of the organization called Union of Unemployed Workers (UUW). It was a hot bed of Communist Party members and other left wing types in Winnipeg.

That was in the 1980s. It took me a couple of more decades to realize that I did not want ‘to work for the man’ or the woman, for that matter. I am most happy when I am self-employed, doing what I am passionate about.

I have even figured out a way to need very little money but still live as well as I can and be happy. I do psychic readings and I housesit full time rather than pay a mortgage or rent.


I am sure there are people who are very passionate about working for the man or woman but that is not me. I always thought how my boss could be doing her or his job better when I worked for other people. No boss is happy with this. This never worked for me.

But it was exciting to flirt with the idea of being a Communist even though I never went so far as to become a card carrying member. I do like my independence but here is a story about people who are idealists and want to work so the world will be this way. These kind of principles are to be admired.

Read on:

July 1983
Unemployed Women Needed: UUW
by Tanya Lester

To be unemployed today is an extremely serious problem. But to be unemployed and a woman is even worse.

“Women and minorities are even more disillusioned than white men are with unemployment if you want to put it in those black and white terms,” said Susan Spratt. Equal Rights and Opportunities Committee chairperson of the Union of Unemployed Workers (UUW).

Even when women are employed, Spratt explained, they tend to work in non-unionized, low-paying, ghettoized positions with no pension plan, no health care, and no dental plans.

So when women are fired, they often do not have a union to take up a possible grievance.And because they work at lower paying jobs than men (women, on the average, earn 60 percent less than men), unemployment for women automatically means receiving lower unemployment insurance (UIC)benefits, according to Spratt.

An unemployed man, who was making eight dollars per hour, can hold out for a better job while continuing to receive UIC benefits, while women who worked at a lower salary would be required to accept a lower paying job or be cut off from her benefits.

Spratt fears a rebirth of the 1930’s sentiments that “when unemployment is really high then women shouldn’t be working anyway” and “really all you’re (women) good for is making babies and making bread.”

For these reasons, Spratt welcomes unemployed women to participate in the UUW.Her plans for the Equal Rights and Opportunities Committee include organizing specific workshops resourced by the Women’s Employment Counselling Center, and Women in Trades. “The big thing is a lot of women don’t know how to get jobs,” she said and added the same tyoes of workshops could be set up for Native and other minority group members of the UUW.

Spratt also wants to develop a support system within the UUW. For example, if a woman is turned down when applying for a job, the group might be able to help her to explore the reasons behind the job rejection and determine whether they were justifiable reasons. If not, the UUW could take action on her behalf.

Although Spratt realizes women might not want to join the UUW because a “union to a lot of women represents patriarchy”, she believes involvement in the UUW can be a positive experience bor both the male and female members.”I thinks it’s good for men to learn about the problems women and minorities face,” she said.

As well, Spratt believes the UUW, being a vocal group, can help women to speak out and continue to if they enter a unionized job or in other job situations….


For more information on Tanya’s tea leaf and tarot readings as well as her housesitting, go to teareading.wordpress.com or her pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google. Or contact her directly at tealeaf.56@gmail.com or call 250-538-0086.


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