This Women’s History Month, ESC Local 20 is celebrating the achievements of women.
We join with the AFL-CIO to celebrate women who changed—and continue to change—history. Women who decided to get up and do something. Women like Dolores Huerta, who coined the phrase “Sí, se puede” and co-founded the National Farm Workers Association, the predecessor to the United Farm Workers. Like the women of 9to5, who inspired the classic movie and Dolly Parton song.
We recognize "Equal Pay Day" and know there is much more work to be done to close the gender wage gap that pays women 82 cents for every dollar paid to men. Women in the workplace are undervalued and underpaid. A union contract can help change that and bridge the wage gap: hourly wages for women represented by a union are 5.8% higher on average than the wages nonunion women earn with similar characteristics.
We are creating space and sharing resources for women. ESC Local 20 has established its first-ever Women's Committee whose Core Committee is already working hard on women's issues in the workplace, the union, and the community, and hopes to hold a broader membership meeting later in 2021. IFPTE Women's Solidarity Network has long been highlighting issues that affect women like unconscious bias and this year put together a list of recommended readings and other resources.
ESC Local 20 is fortunate to have many strong, talented women in leadership roles in our union. We would like to take this opportunity to highlight a newly elected Unit Board President, Dr. Deb Deveno, and thank her for her leadership. Read more about Deb's leadership.
Dr. Deb Deveno, O.D. is one of many strong leaders in our union. For Women’s History month, ESC Local 20 is proud to highlight her as a woman who is making history now.
Deb has been a labor leader in her workplace for many years, participating in Professional Practice Committees and various labor-management committees.
“I first started doing union work because I wanted to be a part of decision-making at our local department level. Helping my fellow Optometrists work towards a better work environment and ensuring we have a voice is very important to me. As I learned more about our Union Structure, I discovered I could help regionally as well. I’m very proud to be part of our union Optometry Unit Board and Regional Professional Practice Committee, which helps fight for every Optometrist in the region.”
When she joined the Union’s Member Action Committee in 2019, she was instrumental in organizing her co-workers at the Union City and Fremont Kaiser Optometry Clinics to be prepared to sympathy strike. During that time, she attended her first union action demanding “Kaiser Get Back on Track” and respect workers, prioritize patient care, and act in partnership -- and she has not wavered in that demand since.
After becoming an ESC Local 20 union steward in 2010, Deb served as a District 6 Representative (GSAA/EBAY) for 4.5 years and was just elected this year as the Optometry Unit Board President.
Deb is also part of the ESC Local 20 Women’s Committee as a “Core Member” to help lead the committee’s work to advance women’s issues in the workplace, the Union, and the community.
“My Mom was a teacher and a proud member of her local Teachers’ Union. She worked hard on contract negotiations and did her best to ensure that the teachers had the best contracts possible. I remember as a teenager, I thought it seemed stressful and that I would never want to get involved with workplace politics. As a grown woman with three children to help support, I now understand her drive and the importance of fighting for what is right. It is especially important for women to stand up and let their voices be heard. I am so proud of all of the strong women in ESC who work to represent their members every day.”