There was no hotel ballroom, no live audience, no chant, no handshake. Yet the show went on – extraordinarily well. AFGE members across the country who attended our union’s first-ever virtual legislative conference were able to fully participate in great workshops, join the conversations, and listen to great speeches using just a computer and an Internet connection.
Sure, we missed seeing each other in person and enjoying each other’s company, but AFGE members kept our solidarity and fighting spirit alive and proved once again that we can improvise and overcome.
Here’s a brief recap of this year’s Legislative and Grassroots Mobilization Conference:
- The conference was a celebration of our hard-fought victory after being repeatedly attacked for four years by a hostile administration that wanted to destroy our union and the civil service. From the plenary sessions to the workshops, it was clear AFGE members were ready to reclaim what we have lost and achieve even more. Now is the time to unite, mobilize, act!
- We enjoyed the support of key members of Congress who fought with us the past four years. They vowed to work with the Biden administration to restore the rights we lost. We were honored that several members of Congress joined us remotely and addressed AFGE members. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi even wore an AFGE face mask to show solidarity at the end of her remarks!
- Even though this was a virtual meeting, AFGE President Everett Kelley managed to fire up the crowd with his rousing speeches and endless energy. He urged AFGE members to take steps NOW to restore our workplace rights and build back better.
- In several captivating videos, AFGE members urged one another to constantly reach out to their members of Congress and build relationships. That way, they’ll understand the work we do and are more likely to support us.
- Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) gave an inspiring speech at the civil rights panel presentation. She shared her story of personal struggles and reiterated the importance of showing up and making a difference.
- We had so many great workshops and training sessions that informed and inspired AFGE activists to go out and win. With discussions on legislative advocacy, grassroots mobilization, collective bargaining rights, media interview tips and more, AFGE members learned skills that will benefit their locals and the entire labor movement.
- AFGE Legislative Director Alethea Predeoux laid out our legislative plan for this year, including seeking legislation to protect federal workers against future attempts to take away collective bargaining rights. She urged members to stand with their fellow federal workers at other agencies to fight for voice at work, fair treatment, and fair compensation for all.
- AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka joined us on the first day of our conference, applauding and thanking AFGE members for carrying out their work with dignity and honor despite being repeatedly attacked the past four years.
- AFGE members showed off their Now Is The Time T-shirts on T-Shirt Day and shared why they are #ProudToBeAFGE!
- We recognized some amazing members for their advocacy on behalf of the federation and the public we serve. We are so lucky to have you!
AFGE Veteran of the Year: Erich Schmidt
AFGE Firefighter of the Year: David Wilmot
Augusta Y. Thomas Civil Rights Award for Legislative and Political Action: Keena Smith
Augusta Y. Thomas Civil Rights Award for Education and Training: Ana Rivers
Augusta Y. Thomas Civil Rights Award for Representation and Litigation: Claudia Villavicencio
Augusta Y. Thomas Awardee for Member Mobilization: Robin Goode
Racial Justice Advocate of the Year: Shekina Givens
EEO Advocate of the Year: Rachel Shonfield