Delegates Elect New Council 57 Executive Board for 2017-19

The Council 57 Delegates held an election in April for the new Executive Board.

With a two-year term comes a new Council president, vice president, secretary and several first-time Executive Board members. The treasurer and a number of board members were re-elected.

We recently caught up with the board members to get to know them a little better and find out what are their goals to make our Union stronger over the coming years.

Ruben Rodriguez
Local 444

Ruben is a wastewater operator for the East Bay Municipal Utilities District, and he has been a vocal AFSCME member for decades. He is currently vice president and is past-president of Local 444, and he served as a Council 57 Executive Board member before being elected as President for the 2017-2019 term.

Goals: “With the looming threats from Congress and the Supreme Court against working people, we’re going to have to be more efficient when it comes to how we operate as a Union. One of the goals that I have is to visit our Locals along with the new executive director and find out how we can make things better for members. At the same time, I think it’s important that members realize that the Council can’t do everything and that everybody needs to step up now. We’re here to assist. Within the Locals, just like with the Council, it’s about getting people motivated.”

Abdul Johnson
Vice President
Local 2620

Abdul works as a chaplain with the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation (CDCR) at Valley State Prison, and he also works part-time as a chaplain with the California Department of State Hospitals at Coalinga State Hospital. Since he has been a member of Local 2620, he has been a shop steward and trustee. He is currently president of Local 2620.

Goals: “It is easy for us as Locals to only focus on our efforts locally. It is my goal, as vice president of Council 57, to work with all the Locals in conjunction with our community partners and other stakeholders to forge relationships that help us deliver the message that AFSCME truly makes California happen. Our story and what we do for the great state of California needs to be told, especially in light of our inevitable challenges ahead.”

Belinda Beeks-Malone
Local 146

For the last 17 years, Belinda has worked as a social services specialist in the family services/governance unit for the Sacramento Employment Training Agency. She has been president of Local 146 for the past seven years, and she has been active in all aspects of the Union ever since starting out as an inquisitive Next Waver years ago.

Goals: “As Council treasurer, I would like to have open communication and participation with the membership regarding our budget planning. I would also like to find creative ways to run our Council without sacrificing needed services to our Locals, especially with the reality of a national right-to-work law looming upon us.”

Ingrid Bella
Local 101

Ingrid is a senior management analyst for the Santa Clara Valley Water District. Ingrid has been active in Union leadership since 2007 when she became the chief steward for the Employees Association (EA), the largest union in the Santa Clara Valley Water District and second largest in Local 101. She has held several positions in the Union, including secretary of Local 101, vice president of EA, delegate for Local 101 and Council 57 Executive Board member.

Goals: “My goal for my term is to be a contributing factor in making Council 57 and all of its Locals stronger. I feel I can contribute by supporting efforts to become more efficient in the way we govern and increase transparency and communication with our Locals. I look forward to supporting our new president and I share many of his goals.”

Liz Bettencourt
Executive Board Member
Local 101

Liz works as an executive assistant in the Office of the Chief of Watersheds at the Santa Clara Valley Water District. She is the president of the Employees Association (Local 101), and she has also been the secretary-treasurer of the Chapter and the treasurer for Local 101. She was elected to the Council 57 Executive Board in 2015.

Goals: “My reason for being a board member again is to help the new leadership recalibrate the Council in anticipation of the very challenging times ahead. We need to rethink how we work and what our priorities are. We also need to do so in a strategic, transparent, cost-efficient way that provides opportunity for input from all stakeholders.”

Gary Grant
Executive Board Member
Local 3916

Gary is an operations control/field supervisor for AC Transit. He has been active in Local 3916 since 2000, and he has served in numerous roles, including Local president, Local vice president, Council 57 delegate, Council 57 Transportation Caucus member, AFSCME International Convention sergeant of arms and Council 57 Executive Board member.

Goals: “I would like to re-establish the California Transit Caucus so we can use our solidarity to stand up to the threats attacking our established budgets. I also want to build solidarity to stand up against the erosion of workers’ rights.”

Grace Horton
Executive Board Member
Local 829

Grace is the secretary to the administrative vice principal at Sequoia High School. She has been an alternate steward for the Sequoia Union High School District’s secretary work unit, a Local 829 Executive Board member and Council 57 delegate. Over the years, she has organized contract workshops at her job site, participated in precinct walks and has experience with filing PERB claims.

Goals: “One of my goals is to meet with all the Chapters within my Local , understand the hard questions, and bring member concerns to the Executive Board for consideration, discussion and resolution. I also look forward to working in solidarity with my fellow board members and gaining a clear understanding of the Council structure so that I can better serve the membership.”

Eri Glans-Suzuki
Executive Board Member
Local 2428

Eri is the reservations support tech at the East Bay Regional Park District, where she provides software support and data management for multiple departments and divisions in the park district. She currently serves as the vice president of Local 2428, and she is also a steward and serves on the Local’s contract negotiations team and other committees.

Goals: “As a Council 57 Executive Board member, I would like to increase participation from the Locals. I believe a diversity of views can lead to better decision-making.”

Nathan Ask
Executive Board Member
Local 1684

Nathan is a supervisor at the Humboldt County Child Welfare Services Department. He started as a lead on Local 1684’s labor management team, and he has since become more active by becoming a shop steward and serving on the Local’s contract negotiations team.

Goal: “My main goal is to faithfully represent the important, unique, rural voice of Local 1684. I also look forward to making sure that Council 57 stays true to our grassroots democratic values that serve the members. I also want to make sure Council 57 is situated so that we can respond to the upcoming statutory changes that may come our way as a Union.”

Cheryll Grover
Executive Board Member
Local 2700

Cheryll is a clerk in the Contra Costa County Assessor’s Office. She is president of Local 2700 and a veteran Council 57 Executive Board member, in addition to being a California Democratic Party delegate and holding numerous community positions in Contra Costa County.

Goals: “The road ahead is going to be so much more difficult as we continue to fight back against the attacks and the coming losses of funding. But I’m ready to turn our AFSCME Strong program into an AFSCME revolution.”

Shannon Kenney
Executive Board Member
Local 1684

Shannon is an eligibility supervisor for the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services, and she has been a Union member for most the 11 years she has worked for the county. Like many AFSCME members, she comes from a union family. Both of her grandfathers were union members and they lived through the Great Depression. Shannon says those experiences showed her that being active in a union brings unity, equal opportunities and safety to the workplace.

Goals: “I will work hard for us all to get fair wages and safer workplaces. I will work hard to educate and organize. I have a voice—just as you do. Together, we will be loud!”

Rita Magaña
Executive Board Member
Local 2620

Rita is a licensing program analyst for the State of California in San Diego County. She has been very active in AFSCME over the years, having served as a Council 57 delegate, Local 2620 Executive Board member, Local 2620 occupational chair and Council 57 Executive Board member—in addition to serving on numerous Local committees and being a steward for decades.

Goals: “My main goal is to encourage our Chapters and Locals to get their members active in the Union. One of the ways I would like to see this happen is by having each of our Locals develop a strong legislative presence at their local level and in Sacramento. Also, I want to encourage the membership to network with other union and civic groups in their communities.”

Dave McGrath-Wagner
Executive Board Member
Local 2700

Dave is a court clerk at the Contra Costa County Superior Court in Martinez. He has been active in the Union for nearly 20 years, and he has been a member of Local 2700’s contract negotiations team, Executive Board and chair of the Local's Political Action Committee. He has been especially active in political action activities, including lobbying on behalf of union issues, phone banking, precinct walking and conducting candidate interviews during elections.

Goals: “My main goal is to keep our Union strong and insure the survival of our Union during one of the most troubling and difficult times for Labor in our country. My focus as an Executive Board member will be to grow the Union and do my best to come up with innovative ways to improve transparency and communications on all levels of Council business. Meeting the needs of our Union members is extremely important to me.”

Felipe Donaire
Executive Board Member
Local 829

Felipe is a social worker in San Mateo County’s Child Protective Services, helping to ensure the safety of children who need it most. He is the vice president of Local 829, and he previously served as the Local’s secretary. Felipe is an active steward and has worked on numerous bargaining teams to negotiate contracts with San Mateo County. He has been a long-standing Council 57 Executive Board member.

Goals: “Labor is facing serious challenges with new attacks on working people to slash pensions and weaken unions. We need to strengthen our Union to make sure we represent our members in the best possible way and have good communication.”

George Cleveland
Executive Board Member
Local 2019

George has worked in customer service for the East Bay Municipal Utilities District since 1995, and he has been active in Local 2019 for most of that time. He has served in numerous roles in Local 2019, including steward, recording secretary, membership secretary and contract negotiations team member. George is currently the 1st vice president of Local 2019, a veteran Council 57 Executive Board member and an active member on Council 57’s Political Action Committee.

Goals: “My goal as an Executive Board member is to bolster our ranks so that we can survive the anti-union onslaught that is soon to be coming from the Supreme Court. To get ready, I will do my part to fine-tune our AFSCME Strong program.”