|By Jane LaTour
|Sisters in the Brotherhoods
|Photo by Jon Bloom
|Every purchase via this website supports human rights work. Learn more.
|As a member of Local 30, International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE), she’s traveled along two tracks. At some
points, she’s assumed a role as an active participant. At others, she’s limited herself to observation, albeit from the
perspective of a critical rank-and-file member who understands the role of democracy within a union. At all times, despite
the significant limitations of her local, she has held to a firm belief in the critical importance of and potential power of unions.
Maitin is small in stature, but her five-foot frame contains a large and powerful spirit. Her coffee-colored skin is set off by
curly gray hair. Frequent outbursts of laughter puncture any sense of self-importance, both her own and that of others. She is
quick to locate the absurdities of any situation. Throughout more than 24 years as a tradeswoman, her sense of humor has
stood her in good stead.
In 1983, at age 33, Maitin entered the apprenticeship program of Local 30. The single mother of a 12-year-old son, she
found the strength and determination to work full-time, attend school, and travel between two boroughs. Early on, she got
involved with tradeswomen’s groups and contributed her organizing savvy to their efforts.
|As a perceptive, politically aware person, Yvone Maitin
provides an answer to an important question: despite the
horrific treatment that many women working in nontraditional
bluecollar jobs have experienced from their unions, why is it
that so many continue to hold a very pro-union position?
Going to work in an all-male environment presented Maitin, a
Stationary Engineer, with a daily challenge. Yet she
succeeded in moving from ostracism to acceptance. Early on,
she worked with—forced—her union to win a favorable
resolution to a grievance. Then she served as a shop steward.