“Working people are ready to turn the tide, go on offense and win. We see it every day from coast to coast, in industries far and wide,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said to the crowd of more than 400 labor union activists gathered in Detroit, for the AFL-CIO Great Lakes District Meeting. “This much is clear: Our job has never been more important. Our unity has never been stronger. We are ready to do the hard work of rebuilding the American Dream."
Representatives from state federations, central labor councils and affiliate unions in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania discussed the stakes of the 2018 elections and how the union movement can win for working people.
Attendees at the conference heard from their counterparts in other states on how to achieve those victories, including analysis of the current political landscape, member engagement strategies and campaign planning.
The meeting provided all with an opportunity to exchange ideas and gain an understanding of recent research and campaign tactics that will inform the planning and execution of winning campaign strategies in these battleground states.
Participants had the opportunity to attend workshops on a variety of topics, including Common Sense Economics®, member engagement, internal organizing and establishing new paths to power in developing a state federation-based union member candidate program. Special thanks to Charles Wowkanech who shared insights on how the New Jersey State AFL-CIO has been able to elect thousands of union members to public office. As he says, "You can’t go through a town in New Jersey without running into one of us."
This was the first of several regional meetings that the AFL-CIO is organizing for early 2018. The others are slated to take place in Chicago; Buena Park, California; Silver Spring, Maryland; New Orleans; and Las Vegas.
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