As our union charts a fresh course post-Janus, AFSCME is unleashing an organizing push like never before to protect the freedoms and rights of public service workers, AFSCME Secretary-Treasurer Elissa McBride said Tuesday.
“We know the path forward. We must all be organizers now,” she told delegates and alternates attending AFSCME’s 43rd International Convention. “We must inspire hope in the weary and the fearful. Now more than ever, we must ask our co-workers questions that stir them up and challenge them to take action: Will things change if we do nothing? Will we have the power we need to improve our lives if we are not united?”
McBride recalled going to the front lines and being inspired by members engaged in organizing actions – at a membership blitz in New York state, during a strike in California, at a unionization drive at private emergency medical services provider Falck on the West Coast, to name a few examples.
“The billionaires may try to conquer us – but for all their resources, they don’t have what we have: A sense of fairness. A belief in democracy. The satisfaction that comes from working together for the common good. And the knowledge that our cause is just,” she said. “We will build a stronger union, and a stronger America – and a more just and humane civilization. Together.”
McBride said her role as secretary-treasurer is to make sure that billionaires and corporate CEOs who pushed to get the Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 case before the U.S. Supreme Court failed to achieve their ultimate goal of starving our union into submission.
Toward that end, McBride said she has a razor focus on becoming an even better steward of our members’ resources so public service workers can continue to build power through AFSCME.
“I am proud to stand with you on the front lines of the fight for workers' rights and public services. And I am proud to stand with you as the chief financial officer of our union. Now more than ever, we as leaders must be good stewards of our union's precious resources,” she said.
Holding more meetings and conferences in-house, increasing online training opportunities, and ramping up support and resources to financial officers at affiliates around the country are examples of AFSCME being more strategic about budgeting in the wake of the adverse Janus ruling.
“But that’s just one part of standing up to the robber barons’ power grab,” McBride reminded the audience. “While they can make things difficult for us, there’s one thing they can’t stop us from doing: organizing.”