Happy New Year, Union Leaders!

We begin this new year feeling positive, optimistic, upbeat and ready for the challenges ahead. 2020 promises to be a year of opportunity for working people, and it is up to us as AFSCME Council 57 to seize the opportunities that present themselves.

It is fair to say that, this time last year, the future was uncertain: our membership was divided, we were anxious and we were concerned.

Since then, we recommitted to each other. We have rebuilt and strengthened our union:

  • Our council is now 35,000 strong
  • We are fully staffed
  • We have a complete, committed and expanded leadership, and
  • We are hopeful that our membership is itching for the fight ahead, and ready to win and succeed

Organized labor is at its best and at its strongest when we are working together and tackling things collectively.

As we look to making 2020 a watershed year for our council, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved.

The Council 57 delegates meet to decide our 2020FY budget on January 25. The California PEOPLE Convention is in Sacramento from February 1-3. Finally, the International Convention will be in Los Angeles from August 9-15. Let us make our presence known.

It is also an election year and, again, getting involved is paramount. We must all vote!

Here in California, we have several items—with the priority going to the Schools and Communities First initiative.

This initiative recognizes that large companies in California have not been paying their fair share, school funding has fallen behind, and our communities have suffered diminishing resources.

If we can pass this initiative, then it will restore funding in excess of $12 billion yearly to our schools and communities, and it will not raise taxes on homeowners or renters or small business. This will improve our members’ lives and improve services we provide, and that is why AFSCME has endorsed the initiative and why we will all be working to get it passed.

We know that many of the locals are going into contract negotiations.

While they most certainly will be tough, we can learn from recent fights that when we stick together and fight together, we win.

Unions have ended the past decade with signs of hope. As we go into this new decade, we must build on our successes, continue our struggle and, above all else, win for working people.