Against a backdrop of legislative, judicial and dark-money funded attacks on public employee unions and collective bargaining rights, the 2017 Council 4 Conference energized more than 250 members who gathered in New Haven March 31-April 2 to sharpen the tools needed to “resist and organize.”
Conference participants attended valuable workshops and panel discussions on collective bargaining challenges, legislative developments, communications and the AFSCME Strong program – a special initiative designed to maintain and build union strength, particularly in the event of a “Right-to-Work-For-Less” decision from the U.S. Supreme Court.
One of the highlights of the conference took place when Patrick Sampson, Council 4’s Director of Operations, recognized three local union leaders and their bargaining units as “AFSCME Strong All-Stars”:
These Council 4 locals were honored for meeting key criteria of the national AFSCME Strong program, which includes signing up at least 90% of their bargaining unit membership as full members and engaging 80% of their members in face-to-face discussions.
“AFSCME Strong is the path forward for staying relevant and strong in the face of unrelenting attacks on our pay, our benefits and our futures,” Sampson said.
Another conference highlight was the Council 4 Member Recognition Dinner, which honored 14 members who have distinguished themselves through their commitment to unionism and workplace democracy. Congratulations to the 2017 winners:
The conference concluded with a reaffirmation of the importance of political and legislative engagement, with the election of our union’s PEOPLE statewide and district committees, as well as the presentation of the Council 4 PEOPLE Person of the Year Award to Chapter 4 Retiree activists Joe and Beverly Manes and the Legislator of the Year to State Rep. Russ Morin of Wethersfield.
The Manes were eloquent in capturing the spirit of the conference and the challenges ahead of our union when they accepted the award.
“It's not about us,” Joe Manes said. "It's about the people who came before and fought for us. We're just trying to pay it forward.”