District Council 57

Local 829 Flexes AFSCME Strong Muscles

AFSCME Council 57 and Local 829 teamed up last week to roll out an organizing blitz in San Mateo County aimed at growing our membership and building power to stave off future attacks on public service workers.   

AFSCME members visited worksites throughout the county, handed out leaflets and held meet-and-greets with more than 500 workers as part of an ongoing effort to continue our AFSCME Strong campaign throughout California.  

“We have to protect our benefits, our retirement and our wages,” said Local 829 Vice President Felipe Donaire. “If it was not for the union, we wouldn’t be able to solve a lot of these issues. So we’ve got to continue to fight.”  

AFSCME Strong was born out of the Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association Supreme Court case to organize members and build power to protect the jobs, financial security and future of all AFSCME members. Since the favorable ruling in February, members’ commitment to the union has only gotten stronger, and San Mateo County was a good example of how our brothers and sisters are already flexing their muscles.   

In total, we reached out to 574 members during the blitz, and 421 members pledged that they would recommit to our union while 101 Agency fee-payers converted to members and 29 members signed up as MVPs for PEOPLE, AFSCME’s political arm.   

Bernardo Patino, an environment health specialist and Local 829 steward, said the blitz was a helpful reminder to all the members to stay involved with the union, whether they were just starting out at their jobs or whether they were longtime workers with experience negotiating new contracts.   

“Our members need to be involved and informed about what we’ve gotten so far,” he said.   

For other members, reaching out to members about our union was more than just getting a commitment on a card. It was about reconfirming their commitment to the job they signed up for when they joined the county: to provide public service to the people who need it the most.

Families need care and our neighborhoods demand safety. That’s why we work harder and harder even in tough conditions,” said Emily van de Water, a physical therapist at San Mateo Medical Center. “It means everything to me knowing the work I do every day plays a part to improve our communities.”

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