State of Local 21: “Our Union Is Strong”

At the Delegate Assembly on October 22, more than 125 Local 21 member leaders got together on a Saturday morning to hear reports on the status of the union, learn more about collective bargaining, and democratically participate in Local 21.

“Our union is strong,” said Executive Director Bob Muscat during opening remarks. He highlighted some of the Local 21’s achievements over the past year, including continuing membership growth, increasing financial strength, major contract wins including a great first contract for Local 21’s newest chapter in Cupertino, representational successes like a $300,000 arbitration win for members in Contra Costa County, and the promising early success of the Steward Training Program.

Featured speaker Barry Broad, the Managing Partner of the law firm of Broad & Gusman, LLP, gave a rousing talk about California politicians and the changing state of the Democratic Party in Sacramento now that they enjoy majorities in both houses and control of every statewide office.  He detailed the shift over the past 20 years from traditional democratic agendas towards pro-business platforms that overlap with Republicans and frequently leave working people behind.  Says Broad, “Democrats have to come home to the vision of the New Deal.” According to Broad, when democratic politicians don’t vote with labor it is critical that we hold them accountable. “In Labor we don’t have permanent friends, we have permanent issues. If politicians vote against us we have to kick their a*****.”

Members also enjoyed pitting their knowledge of collective bargaining against each other during a game of Jeopardy- Collective Bargaining Edition! Categories included Public Policy, Permissive or Mandatory?, and Negotiation Process. The theme of this fall’s Delegate Assembly was “Knowledge is Power,” and Local 21 members were able to share knowledge and learn all while competing in teams and deciding whether to bet everything on the Daily Double.

Key Reports at the Delegate Assembly:

·      David Herring, VP for Membership and Organization, reported to the Assembly that membership continues to grow, with Local 21 now being just shy of 10,000 members.

·      Treasurer Moses Corrette informed fellow members that there was a significant budget surplus in FY 2015-16 and so far this year not only is Local 21 under budget, but also has more revenue than anticipated.

·      Executive VP Sue Guest presented on the Resolution for General Fund Contributions, which will divert .75 cents per member per month to the TJ Anthony Fund instead of the General Fund, in order to increase members’ political voice without raising dues. The Delegate Assembly overwhelmingly voted to recommend the measure.

·      Political Director Rachel Richman gave updates on the hot races around the Bay Area and made a plea for members to volunteer to phone bank and walk precincts.

An engaged and knowledgeable membership makes a strong union. We salute all Local 21 member leaders who participated in the Delegate Assembly!