The day after the 2017 class of Organizing Stewards attended their orientation (see page 8-9), the enthusiastic group of 83 activists returned to Weakley Hall to be sworn in at the first Advisory Council meeting of the year.
The class of 2017 is the largest to date, comprised of 85 active and retired members. The Stewards, clad in matching blue shirts and jackets, filled the room with energy and exuberance, eagerly awaiting their chance to take the oath.
“Through hard work, our Organizing Stewards have been incrementally increasing in numbers, and we now have a small army,” Local 1245 Business Manager Tom Dalzell told the Advisory Council. “Because we believe that struggle is not something you can learn in a classroom, we are always looking for campaigns for our Organizing Stewards to go work on, so that they have the skills that have been needed, and will be needed again.”
Dalzell began by recognizing the Organizing Stewards who recently participated in the successful union organizing drive at BGE, and then proceeded to call up the rest of the Stewards as well.
Longtime Organizing Steward Rene Cruz Martinez was selected to speak on behalf of the group, and delivered a stirring and inspirational address about what it means to be an Organizing Steward.
“When other locals make the call for help, we show up. When we work on campaigns, we are the first ones in and the last ones out. We volunteer our personal time on the weekends because we believe in the fight, and we love what we do,” Cruz Martinez told the Advisory Council. “We are fighters, and we don’t give up. We are the voice of our union, and we welcome all new members to join us, because together we can strengthen our union and protect our contracts. We can do so much more in unity.”
Cruz Martinez concluded by thanking the staff and leadership of Local 1245 for their ongoing support of the Organizing Steward program, and leading the group in a “Si Se Puede!” chant before President Art Freitas administered the oath.
Photos by John Storey