AFGE, Local 3937
Local Business Meeting
September 9, 2015
Labor Temple, Seattle WA
Present were: Laura Novakoski, Ana Rivers, Ivan Weich, Tim Roark, Ardeth Bolin and Cinthia Diaz, Melanie Broady, Cassandra Butler and Gerald Swanke.
The meeting was called to order at 7:08pm.
Melanie made a motion to suspend the bylaws where the Secretary would normally chair the meeting in the absence of both the LP and EVP; Ardeth seconded. Everyone agreed that Laura should be free to take notes tonight, so Tim (1st VP) will chair the meeting. Motion passed. We also agreed to move New Business to the top of the agenda so that we could hear from our guest at tonight’s meeting.
Tim Roark, our 1st Vice President, recently stepped down from his position on Oregon’s AFL-CIO Executive Board. Tonight we have a guest at the meeting, AFGE’s District 11 National Vice-President Gerald Swanke. He came to present Tim with a plaque as an Award for Exemplary Service, honoring the more than 15 years of time and energy that Tim gave the AFL-CIO. His work and leadership there helped to protect and advance Union worker interests in general, and shared with them his unique perspective and information about Social Security worker struggles in particular. This kind of coalition among the many branches of Labor is what makes us all stronger and helps us to work together more effectively towards our goals. He recently retired from his Executive Board position and his role has since been filled by a VA AFGE representative.
Gerry provided us with a summary of how the district is doing. Right before the national convention our numbers were at about 20,000 members across 8 states. Our political and legislative activism has had a great impact due to our strength; in every election cycle we have more shifts of volunteers working elections, even compared to much larger districts. Since Union treasury money cannot by law be used in any political campaigns, there are Political Action Committees (PACs) that can funnel money to candidates and incumbents who fight to preserve and protect workers’ rights that we believe in. We have been #1 or #2 in PAC membership for years, this year raising about $94,000.
He’s been involved recently in the NW Initiative of the National Labor Leadership Initiative, whose mission is to break out skills and community based affiliates of the AFL-CIO, working towards things like workplace protection for immigrant rights and protections for all workers. The idea is to develop coalitions on a regional basis so that we can all support each other. This is a new organization being created to build a progressive movement that covers the northwest regions (including British Columbia, WA and OR). They would strategize legislation to protect worker rights and address income inequality, etc. They envision coalitions with other organizations with similar goals. There is a retreat planned in Seattle 11/30-12/4/15 to do more planning. This is based on a model from NC called Moral Mondays. You can visit District 11’st website at www.afged11.org, and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Carrie (in absentia) wanted to bring a motion that the Local contribute $100 to the Council of Prison Locals Jose Rivera Memorial Park Fund, so Ardeth presented it for her. Jose was a 22 year old AFGE member who was murdered in 2008 while on duty, in Atwater CA. The BOP local is soliciting funds to help build a memorial park there in his honor; Ana seconded. Motion passed.
Laura is working with AFGE Local 2157’s President, Amanda Schroeder, on her campaign to be elected to a non-partisan seat on the Multnomah County Commission for District 4 (East Portland). Laura shared information from Amanda’s website – she proposes to work for Multnomah County, creating the right conditions to attract new businesses, add family-wage jobs, and build educational and job opportunities across East County in Portland, OR. Through her leadership in the union and the AFL-CIO, she has championed ensuring equality for women in the workplace and fair working conditions for all employees at the VA. Laura made a motion that Local 3937 formally endorse her campaign to support her in this bid for Multnomah County Commissioner; Melanie seconded. Motion passed.
We’ve used 54% of the budget as of July 31, 2015 so things are going well financially based on where we are in the fiscal year.
Old Business: None.
We had 4 delegates attend this year’s AFGE National Convention (which occurs every 3 years). This year the theme from National was “Big Enough to Win” and they were focused on increasing membership and dues so that we can continue to achieve our goals in Washington, DC legislatively and protect our workers’ jobs and pay. There were various resolutions to increase the per capita dues per member that totaled about $4.00/month more, and this idea met with vocal resistance from some Locals. Members were agitating for greater transparency from the National Executive Council and better management of their current level of funding. Because of this division, the Convention ended with only $1.16/month total per capita increase approved, and only in narrowly watched budget categories. Our Local has to pay out more than ¾ of our dues from members to National and Council fees, and we have been operating for several years in deficit spending because of our reluctance to ask members for more while they endured year after year of frozen salaries; however based on this increase, we may end up proposing a modest increase in dues later this year or next, to maintain our solvency.
Melanie made a motion that this evening’s LBM minutes be approved as written; Ardeth seconded. Motion passed.
Ana moved to adjourn at 8:22pm; Melanie seconded. Motion passed.
Minutes written and submitted by Laura Novakoski, Secretary.