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Would You Like Ribs or a Hot Dog with Your AFSCME Strong?

Hot dogs, BBQ and discussions about their union and politics were just a few highlights of a picnic for AFSCME members across Miami-Dade County, Fla.
By Mark McCullough ·
Would You Like Ribs or a Hot Dog with Your AFSCME Strong?
AFSCME Retiree leader Melba White joined hundreds of her AFSCME sisters and brothers to celebrate the union’s growth over the past year and to keep the momentum going. (Photo by Mark McCullough)

MIAMI – While much of the country starts to shed the winter layers, the mild April weather in South Florida proved the perfect temperature for a picnic uniting AFSCME members across Miami-Dade County

Spearheaded by five locals but inclusive of all AFSCME members, retirees and their families, the picnic included a DJ, raffle, bounce castles, games and playgrounds to keep folks moving and entertained. There were tables set up to register voters, and for members to join or increase their contributions to AFSCME’s political, grassroots lobbying and fundraising arm, known as AFSCME PEOPLE.

They even had an opportunity to adopt a pet, thanks to the participation of Miami-Dade County Animal Services Department.

“Events like this really help to remind you that we are all in this together, no matter what local you are part of, what job you do or what you worksite is,” said Claretha Stewart, an AFSCME retiree and former AFSCME Local 1184 member. “It helps to show what all the hard work, rallies and meetings are for – to make our union family stronger so our families at home can be stronger too.”

Members had plenty of ribs, chicken, watermelon and other great BBQ food to choose from throughout the day while they talked with co-workers, caught up with old friends and made plenty of new ones as well.

But it wasn’t just fun and games. There was plenty of AFSCME Strong organizing too.

Melba White, president of AFSCME Retirees Subchapter 45, was reminding members of the value of staying involved during retirement. “People spend a career serving their communities and having that impact doesn’t have to end when you stop going into the office. It just evolves to reflect the new chapter in your life as well,” said White.

Meanwhile, AFSCME Local 3292’s David Diaz urged members to support AFSCME’s PEOPLE program and also to ensure they and their family members are registered to vote at their current address.

“We have already seen how unpredictable this election season can be, and with so many critical races in Florida this year, we need to have a strong showing by AFSCME members in the August primary and November general election,” said Diaz. “We have had a great response. What AFSCME picnic can go more than a few minutes without politics becoming a topic of conversation?”

Organizers said they were pleased with the turnout and hope it will be the start of an annual tradition.

“I’ve met a lot of AFSCME members but I have never met one that doesn’t like a good picnic,” said White.

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