THE case of the Cuban 5 is known by unions across Canada, the United Kingdom and other countries because on several occasions the mothers and wives of the Five have been invited to speak at labor conferences in those countries. And now in the United States, for the first time, hundreds of women from the United Steelworkers (USW) got to hear about the injustice committed against the Five and their families.
The United Steelworkers (USW) 2013 Women of Steel Conference (WOS) took place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from March 9-13. It included plenary sessions, and workshops with a wide range of themes including trade, media and communication, health care, along with legislative and political related issues.
On the last day of the conference, during the plenary session with international guests, Karen Cole from UNITE, the British union, addressed the audience and thanked the USW for giving them space to have a table with information about the case of the Cuban 5 at the conference. When she mentioned that two of the wives of the Cuban 5 have been denied visas by the U.S. government to visit their incarcerated husbands, a woman from the audience loudly shouted “Shame”. Cole then proceeded to raise an ‘Obama Give me Five’ postcard and asked those at the plenary to send one to Obama when they got home.
The fraternal relations between the USW and its sister union UNITE in the UK made the presence of the Cuban 5 possible at this women’s caucus conference. Last May the case of the Cuban 5 was raised at the 25th International Convention of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) meeting in Denver, Colorado. (From the International Committee for the Freedom of the Cuban 5)