Progressive UNITED! slate wins third straight election at Vermont AFL-CIO convention

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Progressive UNITED! slate wins third straight election at Vermont AFL-CIO convention

Mon, 09/20/2021 - 10:33am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The progressive UNITED! Slate on Sunday in Jay overwhelmingly won their third straight election for leadership positions within the Vermont State Labor Council, AFL-CIO at their annual Convention. United! prevailed in winning 18 of 19 Executive Board positions including David Van Deusen for President (2nd term), Dwight Brown for Executive Vice President (1st term), and Danielle Bombardier for Secretary-Treasurer (2nd term).

One position, Vice President of Rutland and Addison Counties, did not receive any nominations; an appointment will be made at a later date by President Van Deusen. The election results are viewed as a mandate by the incoming leadership to distance themselves from the Democratic Party and build a relationship with the Progressive Party and the democratic left more broadly.  

UNITED! was formed in 2019 in response to the continuing decline of the labor movement happening all over the country, including right here in Vermont. Union density -- the percentage of workers who belong to a labor union -- has been hovering around 10% nationally, a record low. In Vermont, union density is 11.8% as of 2020, but has climbed in 2021 due to new organizing by UFCW, AFSCME, and AFT. The Vermont State Labor Council now has over 11,000 members.

The Slate came up with a Ten Point Program For Union Power to reverse this dangerous trend and revitalize the labor movement. At the heart of the program is a renewed focus on organizing, including directives for greater inclusivity and not being afraid to go out on strike.

Outgoing Vice President  Tristin Adie, who continues to represent AFGE on the board, has experienced the power of strikes firsthand and explains, "I was really struck by the breadth of experience represented by delegates to our convention. It was clear that we have a dynamic, combative network of union activists shaping up across this state. These are leaders who not only know how to fight for their brothers and sisters at work; they are figuring out how to use their power as workers to change the world."

UNITED! and the Vermont State Labor Council gained national attention this past year when they overwhelmingly passed a General Strike resolution at their 2020 Convention in the event of Trump refusing to leave office if he lost the election.

Part of the work in rebuilding Vermont’s labor movement happens right at the annual Convention, and this year, in addition to holding elections, workshops were held to train members on organizing, strike preparation, and practicing social justice unionism. Furthermore, important policy matters were adopted via Resolutions.

One resolution regarding anti-fascism and gun control was passionately debated. The resolution asserts Organized Labor’s right to own firearms and defend themselves and vulnerable communities from violent, white supremacist and anti-worker attacks. The resolution also asserted the responsibility of the Labor Movement to be prepared to defend democracy. This makes the Vermont AFL-CIO on record as the first major Labor body in Vermont to support the right to bear arms.

Commenting on their win and the Convention, the Labor Council’s first Black Vice President, significant in of itself, Dwight Brown of AFSCME Local 1343 stated, “It is with great pride and humility that I step into the role of Executive Vice President of the Vermont State Labor Council AFL-CIO. I am so proud of the work we have done over the past three years. Our fight for worker’s rights continues, and for a more democratic AFL-CIO.”

LIST OF NEWLY ELECTED OFFICERS:

  • President, David Van Deusen, AFSCME 2413

  • Vice President, Dwight Brown, AFSCME 1343

  • Secretary-Treasurer, Danielle Bombardier, IBEW 300

  • Vice President of AFT (VP), Helen Scott, AFT 3203

  • VP for AFT, David Feurzeig, AFT 3203

  • VP for AFSCME, Katie Harris, AFSCME 1674

  • VP for IBEW, Brian Ritz, IBEW 300

  • VP for Postal Workers, Omar Fernandez, APWU-VT

  • VP for Federal Government Workers, Tristin Adie, AFGE 2604

  • VP for Bennington County, Dan Cornell, AFSCME 490

  • VP for Chittenden County, Marty Gil, IATSE 919

  • VP for Franklin and Grand Isle Counties, Alex Potvin, UA 693

  • VP for Lamoille County, Brittany Rhoads, AFSCME 3977

  • VP for Northeast Kingdom, Ruben Serrano, AFSCME 2413

  • VP for Washington and Orange Counties, Traven Leyshon, Green Mountain Labor Council, OPEIU 153

  • VP for Windham and Windsor Counties, Ali Brokenshire, AFSCME 1343

LINK TO ALL RESOLUTIONS (“Under Attachments”): https://vt.aflcio.org/events/2021-convention

Source: Vermont State Labor Council, AFL-CIO 9.19.2021 Jay