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First-Time Delegate Meeting Sets Agenda for the Week and the Future

“By the time this week is over, you will have the tools you need to take on our enemies."
Photo credit: Alena Kuzub
By AFSCME Staff ·

First-time delegates and alternates attended an important briefing on Sunday that outlined key convention procedures and called on new attendees to use the convention as a springboard for growth and empowerment back home.

Explaining the elaborate workings of the 43rd International Convention was part of the first-time delegate meetings. From hotel and shuttle logistics, to highlighting convention events, to explaining how parliamentary procedure works, attendees were primed for the week ahead. 

For Donna Sayers, a New York-based milieu counselor and member-at-large of Local 215 (District Council 1707), being a first-time delegate is both exciting and overwhelming.

“I’m trying to figure out where everything is and what to do,” said Sayers. “This session is going to help with that.”

Sayers and her Local 215 friends Marilyn Vargas, a sign-language interpreter, and Elizabeth Harris, a program aide, say convention comes down to one thing: Learning as much as possible to be the best advocates for their members back home and their patients. 

Beyond urging first-time attendees to learn about the inner workings of the convention, President Lee Saunders, who addressed attendees in a video message, also emphasized that the convention marks the beginning of a conversation that goes well beyond the week’s events.

“By the time this week is over, you will have the tools you need to take on our enemies,” said Saunders. “You will have new skills and knowledge that you can use to strengthen your unions back home. And you will have new energy and motivation for the fight.” 

The convention is comprised of much more than the educational opportunities, the speakers, and the networking events that connect delegates to one another. It’s one of the most important constitutional mandates of the union itself.

“As a delegate, you are playing a crucial role in our union’s democracy,” said Secretary-Treasurer Elissa McBride in her videotaped message to the attendees. “This week, you will help make important decisions about the direction we take in the coming years.”

Attendees left the session charged and ready to take advantage of all the opportunities available to them throughout the week.

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