Jax Host First Ever Womens Maritime Conference

Shown is Vince Cameron, President SEDMC/IVP ILA presenting an award to the Lisa Harvey on behalf of her god-mother of port employee Cynthia Solomon-Watchers the first woman to be admitted to Jacksonville ILA #1408 local.
The International Longshoreman Association launched Women’s History Month with the inaugural Women’s Maritime Southeastern Dock and Marine Council (SEDMC) Conference held inside the Southbank Marriott Hotel. Hundreds of women from adound the country attended the three-day conference that included workshops, fireside chats and tour of the Jacksonville port.
The brainchild of Vince Cameron, President of the ILA’s SEDMC, the conference opened with congratulatory remarks from local dignitaries and a welcome proclamation from the city of Jacksonville. Liz Shuler AFL-CIO President presented the ‘Labor of Love,’ that included agenda items that celebrated maritime member Linda Wilkens “A Mile in My Shoes,” conversation celebrating commemorating Wilkens 43 years on the docks.
The women of ILA were enthusiastic with the conference focus on women and their careers in a male driven occupation.
“This event was like the million women’s march. Members left the conference headed back to their cities and are meeting on their next steps for their locals,” said Cameron.
The empowering event presented workshops that members could take heed to invest in their futures. Other workshops included: Harassment Discrimination and Retaliation, Stress Management, Women’s Health and the most popular workshop ‘Longshoring 101: Foot Health “Proper Shoes A Must.’  Local 1408 member Jann Clark assisted with facilitating the ladies of ILA fireside chats. “This workshop was very overwhelming.  We needed this maritime conference. I’m proud to be a longshorewomen,” said Clark.
Rounding out each day of the conference were the poolside chats, where the women networked and exchanged business cards to collaborate on future maritime commerce for handling dock imports and exports.
For more than 80 years, the International Longshoremen’s Association’s (ILA) Southeastern Dock & Marine Council (SEDMC) has been the entity that has been charged with the mission to negotiate, mediate and educate all parties in the Maritime Arena. the Lcoal ILA 1408 has over 100 women employed which represents nearly 15% of its employee base in the male dominated area.

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