VT AFL-CIO Convention Elects New Leadership, Turns in Progressive Direction

THE VERMONT AFL-CIO’S NEW LEADERSHIP
VT AFL-CIO TURNS IN A PROGRESSIVE DIRECTION

This weekend the Vermont AFL-CIO Convention was the largest it has been in two decades! Rank and file members, including over 95 official delegates, attended from across Vermont. For the majority of those present this was their first Convention. The Convention included an AFSCME Steward’s training as well as AFL-CIO workshops on achieving a livable wage for all, paid family medical leave, and winning on card check. Resolutions were also passed including one in support of the Green New Deal and another in solidarity with UE members from City Market (Burlington) presently seeking to achieve a $15 an hour livable wage.

Concerning internal elections, AFL-CIO United! candidates were elected to 14 of the 15 open leadership positions. United! ran as a slate seeking to move the VT Labor Movement in a more progressive, rank and file direction. The new officers shall be:

• President: David Van Deusen, AFSCME
• Executive Vice President: Tristin Adie, AFGE
• Secretary/Treasurer: Danielle Bombardier, IBEW
• Member-At-Large: Tim LaBombard, IBEW
• Volunteer In Politics: Omar Fernandez, APWU
• District VP For Bennington County: Dan Cornell, AFSCME
• District VP For Caledonia/Lamoille Counties: Rubin Serrano, AFSCME
• District VP For Chittenden County: Sarah Alexander, AFT/UA
• District VP For Chittenden County: Helen Scott, AFT/UA
• District VP For Chittenden County: Marty Gil, IATSE
• District VP For Franklin/Grand Isle Counties: Dwight Brown, AFSCME
• District VP For Rutland/Addition Counties: Eric Steel, AFSCME
• District VP For Washington/Orange Counties: Liz Medina, UAW
• District VP For Windham County: Ron Schneiderman, UFCW
• District VP For Windsor County: Ed Smith, OPEIU (Ed was not on the United! slate)

At the close of the Convention the new leadership invited ALL interested AFL-CIO members to attend the first Executive Board meeting (which happened immediately after the Convention). Here, after being sworn in, the new leadership took a number of immediate actions including the following:

• Voted to make all Executive Board meetings open to all VT AFL-CIO members;
• Voted to set aside funds to develop an on-call organizer roster to assist affiliated Unions with new or internal organizing drives;
• Took steps to form a committee (chaired by Omar Fernandez) to re-evaluate our relationship to the political parties and to re-think our legislative strategies;
• Discussed the means through which to create stronger unity within the federation post Convention;
• Reaffirmed the collective commitment to the United! Ten Point Program For Union Power;

The next leadership meeti will be held in October in Montpelier.

Solidarity!

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VERMONT AFL-CIO UNITED!
TEN POINT PROGRAM FOR UNION POWER
SUMMARY OF PLATFORM FOR CHANGE

UNION DEMOCRACY!
We shall seek to amend VT AFL-CIO Constitution to allow ALL members an equal vote in electing Union officers. Seek to involve the rank & file in collective decision making.

WORKING CLASS UNITY!
We oppose fascism and discrimination in all its forms. We are strong when we are united as Union members and as one working class.

OUR SOCIAL PROGRAM!
We believe that if you work 40 hours a week, you should not have to struggle to pay your bills and make ends meet. We will fight for an expansion of social programs that benefit all working class people, and we will fight to make sure these programs are paid for through progressive taxation (and not having new burdens placed on working people).

POPULAR FRONT!
We will seek coordinate on social and political efforts with allied Unions outside the AFL-CIO and with community organizations when and where those Unions and organizations interests reflect our own. We recognize that we, as a people, are stronger together than apart.

GREEN NEW DEAL!
We support investment in our public infrastructure that results in a healthy environment. We assert that all such projects involving public money must guarantee prevailing wages, good benefits, and that Union labor is utilized.

ELECTORAL POLITICS!
We will NOT support candidates that do not actively support us; we do not care what party they are affiliated with. We recognize that the politicians in Montpelier have not been representing our Union interests. We will therefore explore new, more effective ways to approach electoral politics.

WORKING CLASS DEMOCRACY!
We assert that working people, as the majority, should have a direct vote and say concerning the priorities and laws of the land. We therefore will fight to implement a Town Meeting based referendum system of government.

PRIORITY ON ORGANIZING NEW SHOPS!
We know that by Unionizing new shops, we grow our Union power. We shall therefore dedicate real resources to organizing, and these resources shall support the organizing efforts of affiliated Unions.

WE ARE NOT AFRAID OF STRIKES!
We unequivocally assert that without our labor, Vermont cannot work. Therefore, one of the most powerful tools at our disposal is the withholding of our labor. When strikes occur, we shall provide support to striking workers. During contract negotiations of affiliated Unions, we shall also provide assistance by way of model contract language which, when implemented, helps build a stronger Labor Movement.

BUILDING A MORE POWERFUL LABOR MOVEMENT!
We stand with those Union members that stand with us. We further recognize moving a progressive working class program forward will take not only the participation of AFL-CIO Unions, but also that of the NEA, VSEA, UE, and other non-AFL-CIO Unions. We therefore invite like-minded members from within those Unions to adopt this 10 point program, to join us, and to seek to implement this program in every Union in Vermont. We further recognize that it is not enough to capture the leadership of Unions; to win, we will also require rank & file engagement and action. Thus we will work to increase the involvement of the rank & file at every level.