October 10, 2011

Convention 2011 now history

The Federation’s Convention 2011 wrapped up at 2:52 p.m. Sunday (Oct. 9) after passing several new constitutional amendments and firing up delegates to take on management and Wall Street.

The 413 delegates (and 15 alternates) from 41 locals re-elected Federation President Carol Dotlich, Vice President Sue Henricksen and Treasurer Rosemary Sterling. And they elected Judy Kuschel of Vancouver Local 313 as the union’s new secretary. Henricksen was re-elected by acclamation because she ran unopposed. The officers have two-year terms.

Delegates adopted four amendments to the Federation’s constitution, including one to make the union treasurer the chair of the Federation’s Finance Committee and one creating a new policy committee for non-state employee members, such as medical interpreters.

The convention on Sunday welcomed some of those newly organized public service and state employee members when representatives from new units at American Behavioral Health Systems, the Facilities and Operations Unit at the Washington State University Spokane Campus, and the Interpreters United, who for the first time had delegates as part of their new statewide Local 1671.

The Interpreters United Local 1671 received the Howard Jorgenson Organizing Award, and Volunteer Member Organizers who helped in that campaign were honored on the floor.

Other awards handed out over convention weekend:

• Medal of Valor Award. Tor Bjorklund and Dean Lambert of Parks Local 1466.
• Rosella Charvet Leadership Award. Rebecca Withrow, Yakima Local 1326.
• Howard Ocobock PEOPLE Award. Local 1181, Bremerton.
• Job Action of the Year Award. Local 793, Western State Hospital, Lakewood, and Local 1326, Yakima.

Delegates also adopted one resolution, to seek action to decrease patient assaults on psychiatric and forensic workers.

As the Occupy Wall Street movement sweeps the nation, some 100 delegates on Thursday joined the Occupy Spokane march, passed a resolution to support that movement and collected more than $1,000 to help organizers with logistical and supply costs.

Saturday, several hundred delegates traveled to Medical Lake for a rally in support of workers at Eastern State Hospital and Lakeland Village to protest current and future budget cuts and management inaction that threaten patient, public and worker safety. They were joined by two of the most respected national labor leaders, former AFSCME Secretary-Treasurer William Lucy and Danny Donohue, president of CSEA/AFSCME Local 1000 in New York. Lynne Dodson, secretary-treasurer of the Washington State Labor Council, keynoted the rally, kicking off remarks from Eastern and Lakeland workers with testimony about safety problems. Other delegates from around the state voiced their support for the Local 782 and Local 573 fight for safety.

Other convention speakers over the weekend included AFSCME Secretary-Treasurer Lee Saunders, WSLC President Jeff Johnson, Oregon AFSCME Council 75 President Ken Allen, and candidate for governor U.S. Congressman Jay Inlsee.

And the convention Friday night honored Mary Donnelly, the longtime Federation executive assistant who retired in August after 38 years with the union. As Donnelly accepted the honor, the veteran “go to” person for every convention dating to 1974 summed up the state of the union best:

“The thing that really warms my heart tonight as I look out at this audience and see so many new faces, people who are stepping up, people who are taking an active role in this union, which is what we need to keep moving forward and I wish you all the best.”

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