AFSCME Local 805 member Erin Conley takes seat on Springfield City Council
AFSCME interviewed Locla 805 member Erin Conley after she won her race for Springfield City Council in April.
What inspired you to run for office as a union member?
I’ve always been a solution-driven person. I love Springfield. I love living here. I wanted to be part of making this a stronger community.
I’m a union steward. It’s very important to me to ensure that all workers’ rights are respected. I know this is particularly vital in Springfield, where union workers are an important part of our economy. Union workers have decent wages and benefits, making our community a better, healthier place to live.
How did AFSCME’s support help your campaign?
I’ve walked for so many candidates as an AFSCME member so I know what we can do. But when AFSCME members turned out for me and my race, it blew my mind. We had volunteers helping us for a couple weeks up to the election and on Election Day.
My union brothers and sisters were a base of support that I knew I could rely on and it meant so much to me. Campaigning can be tough. It’s a lot of work and I got very tired. To know that I had AFSCME backing me, that meant the world.
What do you hope to accomplish on the city council?
Springfield has wonderful, unique neighborhoods. But we have seen a lot of contracting out of basic city functions like street and sidewalk safety and repair, and the service isn’t so good. These services should be provided by the city and by city workers. I want to improve our neighborhoods so people want to live in Springfield.
How has being a union member impacted your life?
I was a single mom for a long time without any child support. Being a union member meant I got regular raises, my children had health care and I had a sense of security and support. And after more than 20 years with the state I’ve worked up to the point where my kids can go to college and I can continue to help them as make their way in the world.
I can’t put a price tag on what the union has done for me. It has completely changed what I thought my life would be and I will always be grateful. That’s why I became a union steward. This union gives so much to me and I want to give back to others.