In a September, 2014, keynote address, Brigid O’Farrell of the NWU Bay Area celebrated union women who were active in both the labor movement, and the second wave feminist movement of the 1960’s and 70’s.
The subject of O’Farrell’s speech, “Labor & the Women’s Movement: The Untold Story and Why It Matters,” was based on her book Rocking the Boat: Union Women’s Voices 1915-1975. She highlighted the roles of important organizers such as Millie Jeffrey, long time union and political activist who became the first director of the UAW Women’s Bureau in the mid-40’s; Caroline Dawson Davis, president of Local 764 in Indiana, director of the Women’s Department from the late 40’s to the early 70’s; and Dorothy Haener from the Ford Willow Run plant, which made bombers during World War II. Haener also became an activist and joined the Women’s Department staff in the early 60’s. Five of her nieces were in the audience at the VFA conference.