MORE NEWS FROM THE NEXTUP CONFERENCE
By Jennifer Gray
Over 800 young workers and activists gathered in Minneapolis, MN on September 29, 2011 kicking off the second annual AFL-CIO Young Workers Summit.
IBEW Local 1245 appointed 18 young workers from various employers including PG&E, NVEnergy, Sacramento Regional Transit, Outside Line, Trees Inc, Davey Tree, and Modesto Irrigation District. Delegates and activists listened intently to Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, who recognized the contributions that the labor unions have made to our nation.
Many delegates’ involvement had been limited to their local work place and this conference gave them the opportunity to network and experience a larger labor movement, which included their first call to action for public transit employees. A variety of workshops were offered to educate and engage young workers.
“I believe the labor movement is a social change for good jobs, shared prosperity, equality and justice for all people….I also think that if we build connections between labor and community groups and mobilize them to take direct action on issues like education, civil rights and worker justice we can build a stronger and more diverse labor movement,” said Tanny Hurtado from Davey Trees after attending the breakout session.
Veronica Rivera, NVEnergy, was moved by the struggles that we are facing in this day and age after participating in one of the many workshops offered.
“Everyone has their own challenges that they are dealing with on a day to day basis but we all manage to come together in solidarity for a common cause,” she said.
Shocking statistics were shared on the shrinking numbers of union membership which is currently at 11.9 percent. Young workers were educated on legislation introduced in states such as Florida, Wisconsin, and Ohio, which threatens the livelihood of the working class. We then broke out into small groups to brainstorm ways to motivate and mobilize members and supporters to stand up against legislators backed by corporate interests. Relationships were made with other members and supporters of the labor movement across this country.
A debrief was held Oct. 7 at Ronald T. Weakley Union Hall to discuss what we learned and how to apply it to our daily work lives and into our communities. We will strive to educate and inform our brothers and sisters of Local 1245 about the struggle facing us, the middle class, now and in the future. The delegation will also continue to build on our newly formed relationships with allies in order to advance a better standard of living for all union and non-union workers.
We are all very honored and appreciative of this tremendous opportunity to represent our local. Thank you to all.
Delegates from Local 1245 to this convention were: Erika Barron (PG&E), Lloyd Cargo (PG&E), Benjamin Contreras (Trees, Inc), Salena Estrada (MID), Kurtis Fambrough (Outside Line), Steve Gallow (SRT), Jennifer Gray (PG&E), Kirk Haugen (PG&E), Samuel Hicks (Outside Line), Tanny Hurtado (Davey Tree), Jose Leal (PG&E), Gracie Nunez (PG&E), Veronica Rivera (NVEnergy), Donchele Soper (PG&E), Jeremy Winn (PG&E), Carlos Vidales (PG&E) and Charley Souders (IBEW Staff). Lorenso Arciniega (PG&E) attended as a member of the AFL-CIO’s Young Workers Advisory Council.
Jennifer Gray is a Local 1245 activist who represented California young workers at the recent International Convention of the IBEW.