The AFL-CIO is clearly moving on some of the recommendations from the Next Up Summit last summer, launching a Young Worker Advisory Council similar to their other advisory councils on central labor councils and state federations. Here’ s a new post from the AFL-CIO NOW Blog:
Nora Frederickson, AFL-CIO Media fellow, sends us this report on the first Young Worker Advisory Council meeting.
The union movement’s young workers are getting ready to shake things up.
Working off of the short- and long-term goals laid out at last summer’s Next Up Summit, the brand-new Young Worker Advisory Council met in Washington, D.C., this week to put together a three-month plan to engage the next generation of young workers.
The council emerged out of discussions held during the Next Up Summit. Young union workers and activists expressed their desire to have a greater voice in the development of AFL-CIO’s national outreach program for young workers.
Following the summit, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler, who has made young worker outreach and mobilization a top priority, began a series of conversations on the composition of the Young Worker Advisory Council and how it should inform the union movement’s outreach to young workers. Says Shuler:
When the Executive Council of the AFL-CIO created this council, our hope was to give young activists and leaders a clear voice in shaping the conversation and how to grow and develop the next generation of labor leaders.
Following the first day of discussions, Chris Lane, a public safety officer from Richmond, Va., and president of Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 2201, said he was pleased with the progress that had been made since last summer.
I’ve been a member of CWA for 13 years. Obviously this effort is still in the infancy stages, but it’s a breath of fresh air for the labor movement.
Shuler says the council’s first meeting marks a major milestone in our efforts to engage young workers.
I am so excited to meet this incredible group of leaders, and I look forward to the unique perspective that their voices will bring to this initiative.
These efforts came to fruition this week as the more than 20 new members of the council—a diverse group of emerging labor leaders from national affiliate unions, state and local labor bodies, constituency groups and Working America—met for the first time in Washington D.C., this week.
Young Worker Advisory Council members include:
Tahir Duckett – Working America
Sara Kuntzler – Denver Area Labor Federation
Reggie Davis – UWUA
Sherrice Wilfong – APWU
Jessica Ingerick – OPEIU
Chris Sloan _ IUPAT
Jessica Hayssen – Minnesota AFL-CIO
Jeremy Redleaf – AFTRA
Chris Lane – CWA
Michelle Wyvill – IAM
Casey Karns – AFSCME
Nick Guitaud – USW
Allison Doherty-LaCasse – AFT
Joe Briggs – NFLPA
Lorenzo Arciniega – IBEW
Jesse Barber – UMWA
Keith Richardson – APWU
Eric Clinton – UNITEHERE!
The council focused its efforts this week on developing concrete next steps covering four young worker priorities:
- Developing a toolkit for young workers to use in starting or leading a young worker group at the local levels
- Connecting young workers with opportunities for training and mentoring
- Developing a brand that resonates with young workers
- Identifying new ways to bring young people into the labor movement.
Members also brainstormed the roles of the council, national unions and the AFL-CIO in the labor movement’s outreach to young workers.
Over the next three months, advisory board members will work with the AFL-CIO and its affiliated unions to ensure the Next Up website serves as a resource for young workers managing or starting local groups, survey young workers to find out what kind of mentoring and labor education programs they want access to and examine how to expand existing models for union internship programs and organizer trainings. They will also start planning the next young workers summit, set for this summer.
Sara Kuntzler, political director of the Colorado AFL-CIO and another Council member, put it this way.
We’re at a pivotal moment in the labor movement, and young workers are where the energy is. They are the hope of the movement. It’s so encouraging to work with a group with so much passion, energy, and hope in prioritizing areas of focus for our work with young workers.