Local 21 Members Convene Delegate Assembly

On June 18, about 90 Local 21 delegates gathered for the second Delegate Assembly of the year. Themed “The Struggle Continues…” union leaders used most of the four-hour meeting to learn, share, and strategize about how Local 21 jurisdictions can continue to fend off attacks on public workers. Local 21 President Dean Coate and Executive Director Bob Muscat opened the session with remarks and then turned the podium over to keynote speaker Josie Camacho, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alameda Labor Council. She recounted her entry into labor and shared her personal views on building a strong, inclusive labor movement. Three Local 21 chapters – City of Hayward, City of Richmond, and CCSF Municipal Architects – were honored for having the highest participation in the TJ Anthony Fund, underscoring their collective commitments.

Union leaders then shared their assessments of recent contract negotiations in various jurisdictions. Delegates commented on how similar their experiences were across jurisdictions, especially the level of sacrifice that employers expected of them. Delegates also noted that many of the employers’ demands were “unsubstantiated” and “overreaching.”

Another important element of the June Delegate Assembly is that this is when leaders ratify the Union’s budget for the following fiscal year. The budget for FY 2011-12 is the first in Local 21’s history with a drop in the amount collected through dues and fees. Local 21’s Executive Committee also made a transition, with Lock Kwon stepping down from his post as Treasurer and ending his membership in Local 21 as he moves into the private sector. In the interim, President Dean Coate will appoint a replacement in accordance with the Bylaws.

Bay Area labor attorney Chris Platten was the keynote speaker. His speech and the subsequent discussion drew connections between our lives as workers, voters, and taxpayers. Platten also discussed the decline of the working class in America, noting that 1% of the US population controls 40% of the nation’s wealth, and encouraged Local 21 members to continue their struggles, and to be increasingly active politically.

(Photo: Local 21 delegates gather for June Delegate Assembly; Photo by Kyra Byrne)