By Clyde Weiss

Public service workers work around the clock to make our communities better. We never quit. And the 42nd International Convention is about honoring our commitment.

In a year with so much at stake for us and our nation, AFSCME delegates have arrived in Las Vegas to strengthen our union for the challenges ahead.

This year, we averted a major threat when the U.S. Supreme Court in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association effectively reaffirmed our right to come together in a union to negotiate collectively. But there is still much to be done to defend workers’ rights and fight for an economy that works for everyone.

What we do for ourselves, we do for millions of working families across the nation. That’s always been the case. In the next few days, as we chart the course of AFSCME’s future, we will recommit to never quit on our common values, our communities or our union. We’ll also commit to never quit on our country, by electing a leader for all working families in November.

Today we will hear from our president, Lee Saunders, and tomorrow from our secretary-treasurer, Laura Reyes. We have become stronger and better able to defend ourselves against attacks. Over the last four years, AFSCME members have recommitted to their union and many workers have joined as new members; and our political action program, PEOPLE, is bigger than ever.

On Tuesday we’ll welcome Secretary Hillary Clinton, a friend of AFSCME who has vowed as President to protect and expand workers’ rights and raise wages for the middle class. She’s with us. And we’re with her. Let’s show her our support!
On Wednesday we’ll demonstrate our commitment to workers’ rights by standing in solidarity with members of Culinary Workers Union Local 226 who work at the Trump International Hotel. They’re fighting for just and fair treatment, and a first contract that will support their families.

On Thursday we will hold our elections. Throughout the week we will celebrate the achievements and enduring spirit of AFSCME sisters and brothers from across the country

It’s going to be a week to show who we are, to prepare for a better future, and to strengthen our union to meet the challenges confronting us and our country. Let’s get to it!A