The undeniable chill in the air and the early hour that darkness falls over us leaves no question that the Winter Holiday season is upon us. The many religious and cultural holidays celebrated around this time of year symbolize our collective commitment to gather and share our love among those we hold most dear. We call upon the sacred values learned from those traditions, to show one another the best versions of ourselves. We do this through fellowship, kindness, food, gift giving, and charity.
Shop stewards are the backbone of any labor union and necessary for the union to wield the power in the workplace that members deserve. Knowing that, AFT-Maryland convened a statewide training for public employee stewards to equip them with the skills and resources they need to help their colleagues as best as possible. Members from across the state, working in diverse industries from higher education professionals to correctional staff, came to Baltimore for the day-long training.
It is with the heaviest of hearts that I share that Metro Baltimore AFL-CIO President Emeritus Ernie Grecco has passed. Ernie was a lifelong champion for labor and particularly for public employees. He was a strong advocate for AFT-Maryland and offered the full support of the council to the state federation at every turn. He was a kind, engaging, and affable leader who greeted everyone he met with a warm smile and playful joke.
Labor power is rising all across the United States and workers in Maryland are capitalizing on the energy surrounding the current labor movement. AFT-Maryland already stands as a leader in fighting for local and state employees in Maryland and we have extended our support to labor siblings in different industries. Members and staff of the state federation have taken to the streets recently to support worker efforts as labor attempts to make inroads against corporate titans such as Starbucks and Amazon.
AFT Nurses and Health Professionals and AFT Public Employees held their Professional Issues Conference in Baltimore, Maryland last week, and AFT-Maryland was there to welcome the conference to Maryland. “Baltimore is a strong union town and Maryland is a strong state for public employees,” said AFT-Maryland President Kenya Campbell as she addressed the attendees.
President Campbell, along with other leaders and members of our local affiliates, played a big part in the conference, offering workshops, panels, and breakout sessions for professional public health workers and public employees.