We are pleased to announce we are holding our 2017 Biennial Convention on Friday, May 19, and Saturday, May 20, at the Silver Reef Casino and Spa in Ferndale, Washington. The participation of your local is important to the strength and success of our union for a number of reasons, which I elaborate below.
Our convention theme is “Standing Together, We Move Forward.” This theme representsthe importance of recognizing and acting on our shared values and belief in justice and equity to improve the working lives of our members and strengthen the communities in which we all live. We need good wages and working conditions, affordable and high-quality healthcare, and the promise of a secure retirement. We need a hearty public education from early learning through higher education, and we need safe drinking water, a sound infrastructure, and reliable and affordable housing and transportation options for our communities. Our union, and the Labor Movement more broadly, has a stake in all of this and we have the potential, in solidarity with community allies, to ensure these aspirations are realized. This is why we come together.
Our keynote speaker this year will be AFT member Kent Wong, who is the director of the UCLA Labor Center where he teaches courses in labor studies and Asian American studies. He was the founding president of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), the founding president of the United Association for Labor Education, and currently is vice president of the California Federation of Teachers.
2017 is our AFT Washington officer-election year. As attacks on collective bargaining come at us through legislation and the courts, an engaged and vibrant Executive Board is essential to effectively guide the work of AFT Washington. Please consider running for office.
Once again we will raffle off baskets that are submitted by locals to raise funds for our AFT Washington/Schwerin Campbell Barnard Iglitzin & Lavitt Education Scholarship Awards. A number of members and their family members have received $1,000 scholarships toward their higher education goals.
We will also consider resolutions and bylaws amendments, and we will honor members whose work exemplifies union principles and moves our agenda forward.
Your voice, and the voices of your members, are key to ensuring a democratic organization. Please commit to sending as many delegates as possible to cast your votes for officers, resolutions and bylaws amendments and to celebrate our successes. Karen Strickland would be thrilled to see 50 percent of delegate slots filled! If you have any questions about how to elect your delegates, please contact your AFT Washington Labor Representative and they will assist you.
Last day for hotel reservations are May 5 for the AFT Washington group rate.