Report from a First Time Union Delegate
By: Chris Willems
“We are fighting a battle of immense proportions that threatens to destroy all we and others in the labor movement have worked for. This battle is ultimately over who holds power in our economy and our democracy. It is a battle to reclaim the promise of America.” -AFT CT Resolution on Member Engagement
I am a science teacher in New Haven, CT and am thrilled to have an active role as a national delegate within our local union #933, the New Haven Federation of Teachers. Eric Maroney and I are first-time delegates, and our responsibilities include attending state and national conventions as the representative voices of our brothers and sisters in the New Haven Federation of Teachers. It has been a fascinating and energizing experience. I am going to share an update on what I learned this summer, and I challenge you to engage in the dialogue.
On Saturday May 21, 2016, AFT CT hosted the annual business convention at the Aqua Turf in Plantsville, CT. Our business involved recognizing affiliates who represented the approximately 30,000 AFT CT members in attendance, approving the minutes from the last convention, amending our constitution, and passing resolutions.
The theme “Reclaiming our Solidarity” rippled through the presentations and celebrations. AFL-CIO President Lori Pelletier spoke of how firefighters have aligned with paraprofessionals to strengthen local unions. I was inspired by the stories Lori told and began to think about ways in which our own union can partner with others in the New Haven community to benefit those we serve.
On a more sobering note, we were reminded to prepare for more legal cases targeting labor unions for elimination. A Supreme Court case from this past spring that many of our members may have heard about in the national press, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, would likely have been decided against unions had Justice Badass Teachers Association: