|District Council 57|
LABOR LEADERS HUERTA AND LYNCH FIRE UP 2015 LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE
photo courtesy of Brooke Anderson, movementphotographer.com
Over 100 leaders and activists brought life to the Council 57 AFSCME STRONG movement at the Leadership Conference in September themed Organizing for a Power Future. AFSCME Council 31 Director Roberta Lynch rallied the crowd about Income Inequality and the need to fight the billionaire agenda to dismantle unions. Members posed for a group picture which joined with AFSCME Council 31 members depicts AFSCME Strong solidarity. Longtime labor icon and social justice activist Dolores Huerta (at right) inspired our members with the history of United Farm Workers (UFW) organizing and the importance of home visits to engage members. She also emphasized how AFSCME’s support in the early years of the UFW grape boycott was crucial to the success of the campaign. Conference participants put this and their AFSCME Strong training to use making home visits to AFSCME Local 829 members, signing up new members, enrolling members into PEOPLE and engaging members in dynamic conversations about the future of our union.
AFSCME Council 57 also honored activists and locals at our first ever Outstanding Organizer Awards with a field of many distinguished nominees from around the state. In an Academy Award format presenters Belinda Malone, Bernadine Howell, and Ruben Rodriguez recognized outstanding activists and locals who are doing an outstanding job to build our union!
Council 57 President Cynthia McCabe opened the conference welcoming the crowd before introducing International President Lee Saunders who conveyed how AFSCME Strong organizing has exceeded all expectations. The initial AFSCME STRONG challenge called for union leaders nationally to sign up 50.000 new members by the International Convention in 2014. At the start of that convention we had exceeded 95,000 new members! Since the AFSCME Strong campaign began in July, Council 57 has welcomed 2,578 new members into our union! We are well on our way to achieving our goal of 90% membership and 3,700 members! We continue the next phase of the campaign which aims to reach 80% of our members to have good discussions about our union priorities.
Members were enthusiastic about workshops which included Volunteer Member Organizer training, Know Your Rights, Changing the Narrative on how we communicate about our union, 101 Ways to Energize Your Local Union and Organizing Through Social Media.
At the Evening with Dolores Huerta the long-time fighter for social justice shared her passion for organizing, lauding the Council for the home visits planned for the following day. She recalled the effectiveness of what the UFW called “house meetings” to talk with six to eight people about the importance of fighting for a union. “Never underestimate the importance of electing labor to school boards to educate the public,” Huerta went on to say. “We need to institute ethnic studies in the schools to educate about the many contributions immigrants made to build our country.
Slideshow photos of the Evening with Dolores Huerta courtesy of Brooke Anderson, movementphotographer.com
Outstanding Organizer awards were awarded in recognition of member efforts in our AFSCME Strong campaign. [Read more here]
Activists who evaluated the 2015 Leadership Conference called it “fun and energizing” and used terms like “reinvigorated”, “learned about the many union resources”, and “using my power” to describe what they took away from it. And one evaluator advocated for a three-day conference with a Dance Night added in to it! Council 57 staff and leaders will incorporate the many good suggestions into the planning of a bigger and better Leadership Conference in 2017.
View pictures from the leadership conference here
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