The very first Y.O.U.N.G. (Young Organizing Unionists for the Next Generation) AFGE Training Summit was held August 11th & 12th in Las Vegas in conjunction with AFGE’s 39th National Convention. Over 200 young union members and seasoned mentors came together to find empowerment, education and inspiration to be true leaders and activists to secure the future of AFGE and the Labor Movement. The theme for the training summit was “Connecting the Dots”. The summit was designed to show that everything working Americans are experiencing right now is not unintentional and each attack we are facing is an individual dot that creates a very ugly picture for our future.
The summit began with a welcome from Augusta Y. Thomas, NVP for Women and Fair Practices and the newly elected President, J. David Cox, Sr. Both gave compelling welcome speeches to reinforce the need to get young workers involved and engaged in AFGE. They also heard from a member of the Nevada State AFL-CIO’s “Young Organized Union Representatives” (Y.O.U.R.). The participants learned about the state of the union, voter protection and the political outlook. They also heard from a panel of experts regarding discrimination, LGBTQ issues/transgender health benefits, attack on immigrant workers and the war on women…all issues that connect us to each other’s struggle. They ended their first day of training with a happy hour and after party.
On the second day, participants took a walk through labor union history; they learned that if we remember the strength of the Labor Movement from the past we can make a difference today. Participants were able to choose from four educational breakout sessions: AFGE 101, Organizing Young Workers, Leadership Roundtable, and Political Outlook. They were given time to visit the AFGE Convention Exhibit Hall to learn about all of the different departments of AFGE. They ended the weekend with an empowering speech from Lucas Neff, actor from the hit TV show “Raising Hope” and young union activist from SAG-AFTRA and comedian Lee Camp.
Registered participants received innovative and updated “young” trinkets, such as a graphic t-shirt showing the Eiffel tower, a sleek black portfolio bag, a flash drive silicone bracelet, packs of gum and a pin and pen all emblazoned with the vibrant new Y.O.U.N.G. logo. There was so much interest in these items that they will soon be available to purchase online. The flash drive that participants received was preloaded with important information from the summit and some other fun AFGE extras.
The recent attacks on unions makes it harder to recruit young workers, most of who don’t even know that the unions brought them sick leave, weekends, paid vacations, and so on. This training summit taught the 200+ participants that young workers are a part of this movement and have to continue to fight for it.
Participants have expressed their eager anticipation of the upcoming Y.O.U.N.G. events; the Y.O.U.N.G. Political meeting at the AFGE’S Legislative Conference and the Mentor/Mentee orientation being planned for February 2013; and the next Y.O.U.N.G. AFGE training summit already being planned in conjunction with next year’s Human Rights Training Conference in Pittsburgh in August 2013.
Filed under: AFL-CIO blogs, Community, YOUNG | Tagged: labor movement, NextUp, young people | 1 Comment »