AFSA Conference Addresses Labor Issues and Education Reform

Liz Shuler, Cecil Roberts Energize Attendees

AFSA GEB members met at the AFSA Midwestern and Southern Regional Leadership Conference in New Orleans in April. Pictured left to right, starting back left: Bruce Bryant, Esq., Domingo Madera, Crystal Boling-Barton, Ernest Logan, Wendi Caporicci, Dr. Leonard Pugliese, James Smallwood, Charles Whelan, Dominic Sacchetti, Carver Farrow, Florida Woods, James Dierke, Diann Woodard, Cynthia Warren, Elaine Papas and Clarice Berry.

AFSA members convened in New Orleans in April to discuss the struggles educators and labor unionists are facing in the current political and economic climate. Attendees heard from union leaders, university researchers, fellow AFSA members and a motivational speaker on how to handle misguided education reforms and attacks from anti-union politicians.

AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler spoke on the aggressive actions taken against the labor movement by Republican governors around the United States. Most notably, Shuler highlighted the actions of Gov. Scott Walker in Wisconsin and called for increased solidarity against his and other threatening legislation.

United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) President Cecil Roberts spoke on the importance of solidarity and the meaning of being united. Roberts said his presence at a school leaders conference spoke to the depth and breadth of the labor movement and the solidarity that exists between every layer of union activism.

Participants also were engaged in a research presentation on leadership and collaboration techniques. An attorney panel that included AFSA General Counsel Bruce Bryant and attorney Willie Zanders addressed the lawsuit that PANOPSI, AFSA Local 17, is involved in, and attendees were provided with useful legal advice on how to handle certain situations.

The two-day conference included food, entertainment and an address by the Louisiana AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer. Conference attendees had the opportunity to network and were given materials to take home and share with fellow union members.

The next AFSA leadership conference will be held in San Francisco Oct. 28–29. To register, click here.