District Council 57

Local 10 Beats the Heat to Reach More Members in the Valley

With fresh excitement from the AFSCME Convention in Las Vegas, AFSCME Local 10 kept the momentum going in July by holding their own AFSCME Strong blitz.

They joined forces with the North Valley Labor Federation and IBEW Local 684 to spread out in the blistering Stanislaus County heat and reach as many members in the Union as possible. 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.

In all, they visited over 50 homes and talked to members about the importance of standing together on issues that impact employees in the workplace. They also shared the message that, with contract negotiations coming up soon, it’s important to build power so that members can fight for better wages and benefits. They also encouraged more members to get involved in their healthcare negotiation team to improve their bargaining power before negotiations get underway.

AFSCME Local 10 was able to sign up seven new members through the effort, which says a lot for the Central Valley—a challenging area for unions, said Local 10 President Jeff Emens.

“It was great to have so many of our members, amid the summer heat, having the conversations about our Union, standing together, and having a stronger voice at the bargaining table,” Emens said. “They came back energized about their accomplishments and encouraged by the number of coworkers that took the opportunity to stand with us and become a member of our Union.”

Tim Robertson, an organizer with the Labor Federation, applauded the Central Valley effort and said he sees a new Union spirit building in the area. With the attacks on public sector unions continuing from sophisticated money-driven campaigns, he has seen more Union leaders step up their organizing efforts to fight back and stand united against anti-union forces.

Robertson’s hope now is to see organizing efforts like Local 10’s blitz turn into political power in order to improve bargaining positions and protect unions from future attacks.

“If public sector unions in the Central Valley exercise all of their potential power, they will certainly help write a new and more prosperous history for working families in the Central Valley,” Robertson said.

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