“I left with a greater sense of what boots on the ground means for union activism,” AFGE Local 1843 Secretary Matt Bessell said after the Long Island Federation of Labor Local Union Leadership Training with local President Tim McLaughlin.
The event brought together Long Island union activists from every profession such as building trades, retail, and other unions. It even brought them to Washington, D.C., where the group traveled to meet with their congressional representatives and AFL-CIO leaders. McLaughlin and Bessell even were given a personal tour of the Capitol by their House representative, Congressman Steve Israel.
McLaughlin and Bessell were inspired to learn about labor history, ethical conduct for unions, collective bargaining, negotiation training and practice, legislative issues, internal union communications and administration, and local economic development issues.
“This was our first time being able to participate in this training since our local recently became affiliated with the state federation in 2014,” said Bessell. “The tradition will certainly continue.”
The training ensured that these AFGE leaders will have a shared future will their fellow Long Island union activists.
“It gave me a much greater appreciation for the solidarity shared between AFGE members and the diverse membership of other local unions who walk with us in solidarity for fair pay, justice, and respect,” Bessell said.
McLaughlin and Bessell encourage all AFGE members to get involved with their local state federation and take advantage of similar trainings that may be available in your area.