AFSCME Gives Top Award To Longtime Leader Lillian Roberts

CHICAGO–Citing her long and successful fights for public workers in New York City and Chicago, delegates to the AFSCME convention gave the union’s Lifetime Achievement Award to New York Executive Director Lillian Roberts.

Roberts is in her fifth term as executive director of Council 37, AFSCME’s 121,000-member 53-local coalition that represents New York city and hospital workers.  She’s also an AFSCME and New York AFL-CIO vice president.

“Over and over again, she has stood up and fought for the hard-working people of New York City,” AFSCME President Lee Saunders said of Roberts.  “Whether it’s for a fair contract, or against an outsourcing scheme, whether it’s getting members into affordable housing, or fighting harsh budget cuts – this sister has never, ever backed down.”

Roberts told the convention delegates, meeting in Chicago, that when she moved from the Second City to the Big Apple, “All I cared about was the dignity of work, and I knew that I needed a union so I wouldn’t have to kiss somebody’s behind.”

“That’s why we have a union.  It’s the only force that you have that gives you the dignity.  This union is the greatest in the world.  It’s your mouthpiece for justice,” she declared.