AFL-CIO 2023 Martin Luther King, Jr. Civil and Human Rights Conference

Posted January 30, 2023

In January I attended the AFL-CIO 2023 Martin Luther King, Jr. Civil and Human Rights Conference where I heard from many influential speakers such as: Fred Redmond, Secretary-Treasurer, AFL-CIO;
Muriel Bowser Mayor, Washington, D.C and Maya Wiley, CEO of the Civil Rights Organization, just to name a few. Some of the key takeaways were that we must continue to fight for democracy and instill the importance of working together. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his life for change, he wanted to see all men and women thrive regardless of the color of their skin and for all to have the opportunity of a living wage and equality.

Many states are fighting wage theft, and we have a significant change in the people’s appointments now in office. Having these candidates in these seats benefits our membership and nonunion members to have a voice. That way, we can fight against the contractors that have taken advantage of their workers.

I also attended a workshop that helped educate me on how to better motivate our young activists and organizers:

Workshop from Transaction to Transformation

  • This was about how to motivate our young activists and organizers to be stringer and fearless to organize labor across the country to help strengthen our Union.
  • Purpose (THE WHY)
    This was to get attendees thinking and talking about what are we doing to help strengthen our Local Unions by recruiting young activists.
  • Outcome (THE RESULT)
    To walk away with a different mindset & tools of how we plan to include young worker activists to fuel our local unions
  • To look at all the work we do build our unions as transformational
  • Process (HOW WE GET TO THE OUTCOME)
    Through a series of small group discussions to pull out & work from common themes around what’s transactional & what’s transformational
    It is a moving target to figure out how to engage more successfully with our younger generation, all conversations in the workshop help get an idea of how we can better communicate with our new young members.
  • Transactional
    • an action/activity involving two or more parties that influence each other. it would be best if you got this thing done because it affects something else. You need to do it and check it off; doing this keeps the ship afloat
  • Transformational
    • causes impactful change in individuals and systems, creates valuable and positive change, develops members into activists
    • creates a sea change or long-lasting impact
    • creates energy & momentum (mass + velocity for your union)
    • young activists own their work of building their union!

I am grateful for the opportunity to attend the conference and be part of something greater than me and to learn more about how I can help our members on many levels. I feel confident that with this experience of seeing and hearing the problems firsthand, I know what we do is very important and we are the voice for many.

Best Regards,

Jose Luis Rivera
District Council 16
Business Representative
Local union 272

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