AFGE activists were energized and ready to roll after spending a week at the 2019 P.O.R.T. training held in Prince George County, Maryland.
The 2019 P.O.R.T. Leadership Academy brought together hundreds of activists to advance their skills in political action, organizing, representation, and training. In its eighth year, P.O.R.T. continues to educate new activists and hone the skills of dedicated trade unionists. This year is the first time that eight districts – District 2, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, and 14 – joined together to host the event.
“I always say, ‘We must fight as well as we’ve trained, so we must train to fight’,” National Vice President for District 14 Eric Bunn, Sr. wrote in his letter to attendees as he welcomed them to District 14. “That means that in order to effectively create change and progressively build the labor movement, we must be educated.”
AFGE activists indeed need effective training in order to win, considering the unprecedented assault on federal workers’ rights to join with their workers to negotiate for better working conditions. The Trump White House’s secret memo made clear all the recent changes in personnel policies are carried out with one goal: end collective bargaining in the federal government.
“They are all about destroying the union and your job and the service you’re providing to the country,” AFGE President J. David Cox Sr. told the fired-up crowd.
That’s why declaring our independence from the government-controlled dues deduction system and switch to the AFGE-run E-Dues system is more important now than ever.
“If they don’t control our time, our space, our money, we can kick their ass,” Cox continued.
The conference was initially developed under the leadership of former AFGE District 5 National Vice President Everett Kelley, who answered the call for more district-based training. District 5 held the first P.O.R.T. Leadership Academy in November 2011.
Kelley, who was elected AFGE National Secretary-Treasurer in 2018, was honored with the Living Legend Award for his decades of leadership and service to the labor movement.