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Posted By: John Killoy

Danvers, MA- Dozens of AFSCME Council 93 leaders, activists, and staff gathered in Danvers, MA this past weekend for Council's 19th Biennial Legislative Conference.

The three-day event, held September 14-16, provided delegates with an opportunity to help set the Council's political and legislative goals for the next two years, featured workshops on union financial standards as well as organizing and communicating with our members in a post-Janus world, and speeches by a number of candidates for state and federal office from across Council 93's Northern New England Region.

The Conference opened with remarks from Council 93 leadership on the important work being done by our members across Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont and the continued vigilance needed to protect and promote the value of our members' contributions to their communities.

Council 93 Executive Director Frank Moroney noted that the Janus decision, which the right-wing supporters had hoped would deal a crushing blow to public sector unions, has only strengthened our resolve. "Through our AFSCME Strong campaign, we had thousands of one-on-one conversations with our members, Moroney told delegates. "We worked together to educate our members on the hidden agenda – the smoke screen – behind this court case. Through specific issue-based campaigns and contract fights, we demonstrated the power of our union. And we re-ignited our members' activist spirit, and belief in the strength of collective bargaining."

AFSCME International President Lee Saunders, Massachusetts AFL-CIO President Steve Tolman, and Senator Edward Markey from Massachusetts addressed the Conference throughout the weekend stressing the important work AFSCME members do throughout Northern New England and staying strong in the face of increased attacks on the rights of working men and women.

Democratic Candidate for Governor of Massachusetts, Jay Gonzalez assured delegates that as governor he would "not propose or support closing our state hospitals. We need more hospitals across our state right now, not less." After addressing the delegates, Gonzalez received the endorsement of AFSCME Council 93 in his bid to become the next Governor of Massachusetts.

Also receiving endorsements at the Legislative Conference were-Janet Mills for Governor of Maine, Molly Kelly for Governor of New Hampshire, and David Zuckerman for re-election to Lieutenant- Governor of Vermont Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin, Attorney General Maura Healy, State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, and State Auditor Suzanne Bump were also endorsed.

Additionally, in an effort to regain control of the US Congress and Senate and to stop and eventually reverse the anti-union, anti-working family direction the country is headed in, the delegates endorsed all Democratic candidates running for US Congress and US Senate across the four-state region. Notably receiving the AFSCME Council 93 endorsement was United States Marine Veteran Jared Golden who is running a highly-competitive campaign in Maine's 2nd Congressional District, which is crucial to Democrats re-taking control of the House of Representatives.

Delegates put forth resolutions on a wide-ranging platform of issues to improve the lives of AFSCME members and their families. The political and legislative platform proposed for the coming years includes: protecting members' personal data from anti-union organizations; supporting increased access to tuition assistance and reimbursement programs for members and their families to pursue higher education; continued fights against efforts to privatize public services; the right to strike for public employees; continue building and strengthening public-sector coalitions to support all public workers; and improving workplace safety, line-of-duty injury, and death benefits for all public employees

Workshops were offered throughout the weekend to teach delegates best practices on building strength in their locals, communicating with members and organizing in a post-Janus world, and financial responsibilities for Secretary-Treasurers. These well attended workshops gave convention goers the tools and skills necessary to make their locals stronger over the coming years.

The evening banquet was held Saturday evening and featured award presentations. During the dinner, the AFSCME Council 93 Memorial Scholarship Fund announced annual scholarship awards. Awarded in memory of all of our departed members, the scholarship is renewed for each year the recipient is enrolled in an accredited higher education program. Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, the hard work of our scholarship committee, and the success of our fundraising efforts this year we are proud to announce 5 well-deserving scholarship winners. The winners were Jessica Contois who is majoring in psychology with a minor in education and social work at UMass Amherst, Breanna Franzoni who is studying Environmental Engineering at Siena College in New York, Maxwell Kane who has accepted an appointment to the Massachusetts Maritime Academy where he will focus his studies on Marine Science Environmental Protection and Biology, and Loreal Williams who is majoring in Sociology at Barnard College in New York City.

Executive Vice-President Kevin Hanley was presented with the 2018 AFSCME Council 93 Memorial Leadership Award for his years of service to Council 93 and as a long-time officer of Local 1067- Massachusetts Higher Education. In accepting the award, Hanley remarked that "the Council has always been there for me. All of you are brothers and sisters. All of you have helped me along the way. And anything I can ever do for any of you I'm here for you. Thank you."

The convention came to a close Sunday morning with the winners of the Memorial Scholarship Fund raffle prizes being announced. The Memorial Scholarship Fund raised nearly $7,000 through the sale of gift basket raffle tickets, the baskets were generously donated by a number of locals and individuals, and the ever popular 50/50 drawing.



AFSCME Council 93

AFSCME Council 93 represents more than 45,000 state, county and municipal employees in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont.

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