From the Local 695
This article includes language and discussion surrounding the issue of reproductive rights and bodily autonomy in the United States, including issues of violence. Reader discretion is advised.
While the focus of our magazine is Sound & Video, ultimately, Local 695 is a labor union.
With our focus on the film industry and looking forward to how we can continue to improve wages and working conditions, it’s sometimes easy to overlook how far society has come in the fight for labor rights across many industries, especially with regards to the rights of women. A commercially produced birth control pill wasn’t approved by the FDA until 1960. The Equal Pay Act wasn’t signed into law until 1963. These improvements are so recent, and yet it is still so easy to take them for granted. All of the women who fought for their rights in the past would be elated to know that we currently have legal protections and birth control.
On June 3, 1900, seven Locals in New York City founded the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union (ILGWU), which became one of the largest labor unions in the United States during the 1900s. In 1909, they led a strike that became known as the “Uprising of 20,000.” This strike lasted for three months. At the time, it was the largest strike by women workers in US history. Some months after that, 60,000 male and female cloak makers walked out in a strike that was known as the “Great Revolt.”
In 1911, the conditions that many of the striking garment workers were protesting in the Uprising of 20,000 reared their ugly head in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. 146 garment workers died in the fire. A week later at a memorial, union leader Rose Schneiderman was quoted as saying, “I would be a traitor to these poor burned bodies if I came here to talk good fellowship… Too much blood has been spilled. I know from my experience, it is up to the working people to save themselves. The only way they can save themselves is by a strong working-class movement.”
New York wasn’t the only place in which women were labor leaders. In Chicago, on September 22, 1910, 18-year-old Ukrainian immigrant Hannah “Annie” Shapiro led a walkout at HSM Shop No. 5 (a men’s garment factory). The strike lasted until February 1911, and at its peak had 40,000 workers on the strike line. Initially, some male garment workers and the United Garment Workers of America (UGWA) were hesitant to support a women-led strike. Years later, Hannah was quoted as saying, “We all went out; we had to be recognized as people.”
Today, we are back at a turning point in both labor history and the rights of people whose bodies can bear children. With the overturning of Roe v. Wade, our autonomy and ability to have careers, participate in the labor force, and just make decisions about our own bodies is once again in question. We are back to the time in 1910 when we were just asking to be recognized as people. We ask that our Brothers in the Local stand with us without hesitation; that they move more swiftly in support than men in the past. To that end, below are statements from the Women’s Committee that lay out just how impactful this decision is on our lives. Please listen to their words and stand at our sides.
It is easy to be discouraged. It is easy to feel defeated. It would be easy to give up. But Dobbs v. Jackson will not be the final word on this issue. Right now, people who believe in reproductive rights and bodily autonomy all over the world are fighting to reverse this injustice. We need to join together and get organized if we are to see our rights restored. So I am asking that everyone reading get involved. There are several organizations in need of support. I’ve extended mine to Women’s March, Planned Parenthood, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and the ACLU. All of these organizations are in need of donations and volunteers. Women’s March in particular has several amazing ways to get involved, including petitions, government correspondence, and phone/text banking initiatives. There is no contribution of either time or money that is too small, but at the very least, please get out and vote. Tell everyone you know to vote and help get out the vote in states where reproductive rights are under threat. There is so much that we can do. Do not be discouraged. We are not defeated. We will not give up.
Witch trials. Historically when a woman spoke out, she was burned at the stake for witchcraft. It was a quick and simple way to control a woman. Today, we are reverting to a draconian time of archaic rules and laws; laws designed to squelch the voices of women and our allies, same as the burning of a witch. As of last month, a person with a uterus can be jailed for exerting control over her/their body. Overturning Roe v. Wade will kill women. Don’t be naïve. They will find a way to end an unwanted pregnancy, and it will be disastrously unsafe.
I feel enraged, disappointed, and embarrassed about this moment in US history. Mostly I feel frightened for the future. Where will this lead? We live in a country that claims to protect us, to provide Liberty and Justice for ALL… Just as long as you ALL don’t have a uterus. We need to vote and voice our disgust at this blatant disregard to 51% of our population’s freedom. Take back control by showing up at the polls. Register to vote, and elect pro-choice, pro-women, pro-diversity, and pro-LGBTQ+ candidates.
This has gone far enough. Stop the apathy, get out this November and VOTE!
–Jennifer Winslow, Local 695 Women’s Committee Chair
The overturning of Roe v. Wade is something out of a nightmare for women and girls in this country.
I suppose in my youth while not exactly taking it for granted, I didn’t ever expect it to happen.
What this says to me is that our government doesn’t care about women. We don’t matter. We’re incapable of minding our own bodies and lives. It’s inhumane. What’s even scarier are the other attacks and setbacks that are coming under the guise of doing what’s just and best for Americans. We all work so hard. Now we must work and fight harder to change this nation into what it should be; a place where we all have freedoms to live our lives as we see fit and to all be treated fairly and with dignity.
That’s not too much to ask for, is it?
While living in South Africa, I personally witnessed a 12-year-old child, who was raped by an “uncle” (no charges were ever filed), have to endure a full-term pregnancy. I watched as she went from someone I would ride bikes and climb trees with to a quiet, confused, scared little human who was forced to endure something that even adult women have a hard time with. As if the rape wasn’t bad enough. In my young mind, I couldn’t wrap my brain around how her little body could give birth to another human. Wasn’t this meant for grown-ups?
In South Africa, where abortions are legal in cases such as this, most couldn’t afford it even IF a woman had access to a doctor who would agree to perform the procedure. It was hard enough as a white South African, but this and so many other young girls who are rape victims were black, just as my little friend was. She also had the added pressure of the church and their view on abortion. Women, especially black women, had no rights in South Africa, especially Black females. I remember my mom trying to explain this to me. We were both disgusted and saddened by this, but there was nothing we could do.
Sadly, not much has changed.
And so she gave birth. It destroyed her little body, after which they took the baby away for adoption since her family could not afford to care for another child. The little girl I played with became a shell of her former self. I can’t even begin to describe the effect this had on me. It made me angry at the adults who allowed this to happen, angry at the churches who allowed this to happen, and angry at the medical professionals who allowed this to happen. I have not stepped foot inside a church except for a wedding or two since then. Surely this can’t happen in the USA? Right? And yet, here we are. How is that possible??
That experience has always stuck with me, and after immigrating to the States, I never would have believed this would become our reality. And yet, here we are, giving away our rights, quietly shaking our heads in disgust while we ponder on what will happen next.
It saddens me. It makes me very afraid for not only the women in our country, but for all our human rights here. Where do we go from here?
It’s incredibly alarming that a 10-year-old (child) victim of rape had to travel from Ohio to Indiana to receive an abortion. That’s really gut-wrenching. A huge middle finger to Amy Comey Barrett especially. You’re a woman for f**k’s sake. And Clarence Thomas is a piece of work. He now wants to remove the right to have access to contraception, the right for consenting adults to enjoy the privacy of their home, and the right to same-sex marriage. He however omits Loving v. Virginia (the right to interracial marriage) as he is married to a white woman. While I wholeheartedly would hate for ANY of these rulings to be overturned, his selective self-serving process is pretty insidious. I suppose it’s too idealistic on my part to feel that our Supreme Court should rule from a place of compassion and empathy. MoveOn.Org has issued a petition to have him impeached. I have signed it. We really cannot move backward, but it’s pretty frightening to feel as though we are.
The day Roe was overturned was an exceptionally hard day on set. So many of us just lost human rights in this country in between camera setups.
When the abortion debate arises, we relive our trauma & that of our loved ones who’ve gone through it. I learned some co-workers had been raped and had abortions because they needed someone to talk to. Then they sucked it up before being called into set.
The crew asked for someone to say something, simply thanking us for working through a challenging day, but we were left with nothing to address what just happened. It’s grotesque to push forward as if we aren’t connected to the world outside of a film set. The work like a robot mentality is entirely connected to the issues we fought for in 2021.
I hope our union brethren recognize the pain and suffering of those losing their rights in this country as this Supreme Court tears us apart.
When I found out Roe v. Wade was overturned, unfortunately, I wasn’t shocked. Ever since the 2016 election results, I have been slowly saddened by the choices of this country and lack of empathy for each other. It seems over the years, the America I want to believe in does not and never has existed. Over the last few days of processing the court’s decision, I can honestly say I feel victimized and violated. To be told by our Supreme Court that I don’t have a right to my body, and that it’s up to how people vote in the state I live in, whether or not I can continue a pregnancy, feels as if I have an audience in my bedroom. The fact that a man can forcibly impregnate me and I could be forced to carry it to term, causing further trauma; makes me feel subhuman. I fear for my daughter who will come to maturity in the world. We have a medical right to privacy (HIPAA), and a person’s choice to medically remove a pregnancy is no one’s business but their own. I saw a group of women holding signs near my home to end abortion in California. One of the signs read, “I regret my abortion” and for her, I am sorry she regrets the choice she made, but at least she had a choice. Why should I be robbed of my ability to make a choice because of someone else’s feelings? I shouldn’t.
Making abortion illegal is unconscionable and barbaric. Women are equal to men. We deserve respect and support not condemnation. There are a multitude of reasons why a woman must consider an abortion. Being forced to carry a child that was conceived through incest, sexual assault, and rape needs to be illegal. Being forced to carry a child that will cause detrimental health issues or even death to the mother is incomprehensible. Why is there not more concern about the man’s responsibility and accountability for their part in pregnancy. And why are there not harsher laws and condemnation for men who have committed sexual crimes. It has been revealed that many of the supporters that aided in the overturning of Roe v. Wade have used abortion as an option when it was inconvenient for them to bring a child into this world because of their stature. This is appalling and horrific.
I am writing my representatives and supporting putting term limits on the Supreme Court justices. I feel it is the only way, besides voting, that we can have any control of our system of government.
The damage done by the Trump administration continues long after the grifter in chief was fired. Outlawing abortion only stops safe abortion. Now more women will be killed as they’re driven underground to seek the procedure through unsafe and unregulated means. They will also be murdered by men that don’t want the baby. This is only the first right these Republican religious zealots want to take away, more will follow. Separation of church and state is more important than ever. We must march, we must vote, and most importantly, we must not allow these zealots to take away our rights. If you don’t believe abortion is moral, don’t have one. You do not get to force your religious beliefs on anyone else’s choices. The only thing coming out of my womb is dust, but think of your daughters and granddaughters being forced to birth an unwanted child and get as mad as I am so we can stop this madness.
The struggle for 695 to receive enough statements is reflective of the history of violent terrorism by the “pro-life” movement. People are afraid to speak. It also reveals the true intent of anti-abortion groups. Women’s work doesn’t end when she clocks out, but continues at home with childcare. More children at an earlier age equals less free time and money—or, more succinctly, less power. The gender pay gap was recently defended “for people taking time out to, you know, birth children.”
These statements are meant to disempower.
Saying that victims of rape can’t get pregnant or that abortion causes infertility and mental illness is meant to misinform. Anti-abortion laws are created without exceptions for rape and incest, along with allowing manslaughter and murder charges against women who experience miscarriage. Tennessee now wants to allow a father to veto an abortion. So, a rapist could force his victim to carry his baby. This is all meant to terrorize.
Taken in total, “pro-life” is not pro-life. If it were, then they would care that the US has some of the highest infant and maternal death rates, uninsured, mass shootings, hunger, and poverty. “Pro-life” is a campaign to take power and freedom from half of the population. What comes next?