Preventing a "Wisconsin moment" from taking place in Connecticut was the prevailing theme of the Connecticut AFL-CIO's 10th biennial political convention that took place June 16-17 in New Haven.
AFSCME President Lee Saunders electrified the more than 300 union delegates to the convention with his keynote address on June 16. "We can't afford Connecticut to become another Wisconsin, Saunders implored. Wisconsin is infamous in labor circles for Gov. Scott Walker’s anti-worker policies that stripped collective bargaining rights from most workers.
Hours after Saunders' speech, Gov. Malloy declared “We're going to have a ‘Connecticut moment!’” in contrast to Republican endorsed gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley’s call last year for a “Wisconsin moment."
Foley also addressed the convention and said his "Wisconsin moment" remarks was misconstrued.
At the conclusion of the convention, delegates voted to endorse candidates for all of the statewide constitutional offices, including Gov. Malloy and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, as well as the first group of candidates for the Connecticut General Assembly.
AFSCME Local 391 member Michael Strogoff, a state correctional officer, came away impressed.
“This is my first state AFL-CIO convention, and I left it feeling energized and revitalized,” said Strogoff, “The Connecticut labor movement is going in the right direction. We’ve all got to work together to stop a ‘Wisconsin moment’ from happening in Connecticut. That would be an astronomical setback not just for public workers, but all workers. We’ve got the right message and the tools in place to come through on Election Day in November.”
With the biennial convention concluded, the Connecticut AFL-CIO will begin a vigorous campaign to elect their endorsed candidates. This year, the federation expects to increase member turnout to over 1,000 volunteers.