Friday, April 20, 2012

Meeting Randi Weingarten

We had some great workshops today on community engagement and union revitalization through organizing and mobilization. They tied in well with speeches by AFT president Randi Weingarten and John Nichols, journalist for The Nation magazine.

Randi spoke about AFT's renewed and revitalized commitment to community and activism, about the importance of the upcoming elections, and about the struggles in different states. In particular, she spoke of how Governor Malloy has stood proudly with the Backus Nurses as compared to states like Wisconsin, where Scott Walker is facing almost certain recall because he tried to deny workers their rights.

John Nichols spoke of how the people of Wisconsin stood up and said no to Walker. The University of Wisconsin Teaching Assistants Association, an AFT local just like us, was the first to march on the capitol, followed by the nurses, teachers, firemen and women, police, emergency workers, tradesmen and women, farmers, workers, students and citizens from Wisconsin, the country and the world.

At lunch, hundreds of AFT members joined brothers and sisters from local 25, hotel workers, who have been without a contract for more than a year, in a show of solidarity on their informational picket line outside our hotel.

This two year battle at Backus has been emotional for me, and I'm sure for others. We are nurses and we want one thing, to care for our patients.

That means the ability to advocate for their safety and that is what has motivated us. 

I have only told a few people, but this constant barrage against us from management has not always been easy to endure. Management no doubt is counting on this.

Today we had great speakers and great workshops, but the highlight was when Michelle, Carol, Jen, Ole and I met with Randi Weingarten.  She expressed her personal appreciation for the Backus nurses and she pledged her support and the support of the 1.5 million members of AFT.

My bothers and sisters,

today I am revitalized,

I am standing proud,

and I will be one day stronger, one day longer.

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