by Clyde Weiss | April 06, 2015
Last month AFSCME activists in Washington state took the first step in a bold new AFSCME campaign to protect jobs, ensure financial security, and preserve and improve wages and benefits for workers nationwide. They are learning the skills they need to spread this message to their fellow workers.
The new campaign, called AFSCME Strong, is focused on communicating and organizing, member to member. It is designed to leverage the strength of our member activists by training 5 percent of all AFSCME members on ways to connect with their co-workers. In turn, those newly trained activists will reach out to engage 80 percent of our 1.6 million members, one conversation at a time.
Our goal: an even stronger AFSCME, more capable of fighting back against right-wing, corporate-backed forces that want to take away our collective bargaining rights, undermine pensions, make it harder to join a union and silence our voice on the job.
Despite those attacks, AFSCME grew by an astounding 135,000 new members from last year through this March. AFSCME Strong will build on that success by training member activists to engage their co-workers on issues critical to working families.
Members of AFSCME Council 28 in Washington, joined by council staff, were the first in AFSCME’s family to attend an AFSCME Strong training session. Over two days, they trained and met one-on-one with fellow workers at four different worksites: Western State Hospital in Lakewood, Fircrest Residential Habilitation Center in Seattle, Washington State Department of Labor & Industries in Tukwila, and the Centennial Building complex in Tacoma, which houses the Department of Social and Health Services.
Those who participated called it a huge success.
“It was exciting to have all these people together,” said Patrick McDonough, a Psychiatric Security Attendant at Western State Hospital in Lakewood, and a steward for Local 793 (Council 28). “I wish we could get everybody through something like this. If they really understood what is at stake, they would be a lot more vested in this. They would make this a personal fight, like I have.”
Throughout this year, AFSCME activists will receive AFSCME Strong training on a monthly basis. Stay tuned to this blog for more.
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