March 16, 2011
BEST ORGANIZING DRIVE – Carl Goldman, executive director of Council 26 in Washington, DC, accepts the Organizing Award from the Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO.
Photo Credit: Bill Burke/Page One
AFSCME Council 26’s successful drive last fall to organize 138 U.S. Capitol Visitor Center (CVC) tour guides and visitor assistants was recognized this month by the Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO.
Council 26 received the Metro Council’s Organizing Award on March 12 at the organization’s 34th annual awards dinner. The award honors the local union which has organized the most new members or grown by the greatest percentage.
The CVC employees voted overwhelmingly last September for representation with Council 26. They won their collective bargaining rights despite employer intimidation during the organizing drive.
“Visitors to our nation’s Capitol are now guided by union members, who organized in 2010 for the first time in the 134 years since Congress’ Capitol Guide Service was created and just two years after the new Capitol Visitor Center opened,” says Metro Council’s Chris Garlock, Union Cities Program Coordinator and editor of the organization’s e-mail news publication, UNION CITY!
“Council 26 was glad to stand with such an active group of employees as they worked to win a voice on the job,” says Carl Goldman, executive director of Council 26. “Local 658 is already becoming a model in terms of member involvement and communication between the rank-and-file and a hard-working local leadership. In these days of increased attacks on all public workers, it is essential that we continue to organize and mobilize.”
The CVC workers’ achievement has already inspired 17 CVC gift shop employees to organize with Council 26. A petition was recently filed with the support of a majority of the covered workers. An election is expected soon.