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Young Union Members Talk About Being ‘Next Up’

by Kyle Weidleman  |  October 05, 2011

This past weekend, more than 800 young people gathered in Minneapolis, Minn., for the Next Up Young Workers Summit, an AFL-CIO event fostering political activism and organizing. Three AFSCME participants from the conference shared a few thoughts about its impact on them.

Casey Karns
Casey Karns

Casey Karns is a therapeutic activities aide from Franklin, Pa. Casey is a member of Local 1050, Council 13 and sits on the national AFL-CIO’s Young Worker Advisory Council.

“As a member of the council it was great for me to see all of our hard work come to fruition at the summit. I always love it when young people from different labor and trade unions come together for one great purpose. The AFL-CIO and AFSCME are doing a good job supporting the young worker movement. A lot of good ideas and feelings of solidarity came out of the caucuses and workshops.”

Dave Levine
Dave Levine

Dave Levine is a clerk typist with the Pennsylvania Department of Welfare. Dave is a member of Local 2577, Council 13.

“This year's summit provided an opportunity to continue conversations begun last summer between young workers across the labor movement, to see how far we've come since and to come up with new, creative ideas on how we can work together on issues that affect not only public employees, but all of labor.”

Paul Spink
Paul Spink

Paul Spink is a certified social worker from Milwaukee, Wis., who works in the Bureau of Early Care Regulation. Paul is a member of Local 2748, Council 24.

“It was a great opportunity for me, as a young AFSCME member, to meet young people from other trades and organizations who are dedicated to labor activism. After marching shoulder-to-shoulder with thousands of bricklayers, Teamsters, electricians, painters, teachers and nurses in Madison, Wis., this winter, it was an honor to meet them face-to-face. Hopefully, the connections made between the Next Up participants will strengthen the bonds between members across the union movement and give us new strength and new tools as we continue to face challenges and threats across the country. We shared stories about the incredible impact we have had as a movement — both labor and young people — to face down those threats and stand up for the working people who have always made this country great. That message was clear at the summit.”

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