CT People's World June 20 edition
"We are not letting anybody divide the unions of the Connecticut AFL-CIO!" exclaimed Randi Weingarten to a standing ovation and loud applause as she addressed the organization's 10th biennial political convention.
Weingarten, national president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and Lee Saunders, national president of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) both traveled to New Haven to warn delegates of the danger of the billionaire Koch brothers attempt to defeat Democratic governors and legislatures in order to destroy collective bargaining for public sector workers and all workers, as was done in Wisconsin two years ago.
"We need to be at the center of the community, to guarantee economic security for all," said Weingarten. "That is who we are, that is what we know!"
The convention voted unanimously to endorse Malloy for re-election this year. In his speech Malloy listed accomplishments to "build the middle class and protect our families," including the Earned Income Tax Credit, raising the minimum wage, paid sick leave, creating over 50,000 private sector jobs, investing in public education and universal access to pre-K, investing in manufacturing and our infrastructure, getting building trades back to work."
Weingarten was escorted to the platform by the presidents of three locals at Lawrence and Memorial Hospital whose members sustained a four month strike earlier this year.
The two day convention opened with remarks by Stephanie Bloomingdale, secretary treasurer of the Wisconsin AFL CIO. "The Koch brothers came for us in Wisconsin and they are coming for you," she said. "We are fighting for the vision of American that treats all people equally, where democracy is not for sale. We cannot let that light be extinguished."
Executive Secretary Treasurer Lori Pelletier concluded the convention with a strong appeal to the union leaders to take the information and the message back to their members and get them involved. Summer labor picnics, a Labor Day Breakfast will all build up toward full scale mobilization for labor walks, phone banks and workplace discussions.
The Connecticut AFL-CIO represents over 200,000 union workers from more than 900 union affiliates statewide.