In recognition of a career spent fighting for the rights of working women and men in New York and Illinois, AFSCME on Tuesday honored International Vice Pres. Lillian Roberts with the AFSCME Lifetime Achievement Award.
Roberts, executive director of District Council 37, New York City’s largest public employee union, is serving her fifth term in that capacity. She also serves as vice president of the New York State AFL-CIO, vice president of the New York City Central Labor Council, and is co-chair of the Municipal Labor Committee.
President Saunders called Roberts “a friend, a colleague and a mentor to me personally and to countless others. Over and over again, she has stood up and fought for the hard-working people of New York City. Whether it’s for a fair contract, or against an outsourcing scheme, whether it’s getting members into affordable housing, or fighting harsh budget cuts – this sister has never, ever backed down.”
When she moved from Chicago to New York to join DC 37, she said, “all I cared about was the dignity of work, and I knew that I needed a union so I wouldn’t have to kiss somebody’s behind.”
That, she said, “is why we have a union. It’s the only force that you have that gives you the dignity. This union is the greatest in the world. It’s your mouthpiece for justice.”