Sunday, July 22, 2012

AFT local 5123

I think I first met Harry Rodriguez at a breakfast for AFT union members and local politicians.
Harry is president of the L+M Healthcare Workers union, AFT local #5123, roughly 800 members strong.
Harry is also a vice president of AFT CT.

It's been a pleasure to spend time with Harry at various meetings.  He is not only a knowledgeable leader, he carries himself with both a humble grace and a command of power at the same time.

He fired up the crowd at our rally for our first contract with a stirring speech.

When we were in Washington for the professional issues conference we walked into Senator Blumenthal's office with members of several AFT CT locals.  Introductions were made between the Senator's aide and ourselves and later, ourselves and the Senator, but Harry needed no introduction. He was greeted with "Hi Harry" before he could speak.
When it was time, he spoke not about his issues, but about the struggle WE were facing at Backus in our fight to achieve a fair, first contract.

Harry's union, as we sometimes call local 5123, is celebrating 10 years of being chartered.
Personally and on behalf of the members of the Backus Federation of Nurses, I want to extend our congratulations and thanks.

I am learning much from the three presidents of L+M.
Lisa D'Abrosca of the RN local, who has guided me from the start. She was at many of our organizing meetings, with her encouragement and advice. She was there when we voted and there when we negotiated.  She has guided us on Washington St, Norwich and in Washington D C.
Stephanie Johnson of the LPN/Tech local, who marched at our rally and our informational picketing, her enthusiasm and smile energizing us, and who is there whenever I ask.
And Harry. 

They are a strong leaders and a great source of help and support, I am proud to be their brother in the struggle for worker's rights.

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