Better Together: AFSCME Council 31 Convention
AFSCME Council 31’s 22nd biennial convention in Springfield was a resounding success, despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Every precaution was taken to ensure the safety of the more than 600 attendees, including masking and a vaccine or test requirement upon entry.
With the theme of Better Together, the convention focused on all that has been achieved through solidarity over the last two years—and the importance of staying united to overcome the challenges ahead.
Delegates from 136 local unions voted to pass more than a dozen resolutions that will guide the union’s priorities over the next two years, including bolstering the AFSCME Strong program, meeting the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, fighting privatization, standing up for racial and social justice, and winning higher wages in underpaid sectors.
Delegates also nominated and elected Council 31 executive board members, including reelecting Roberta Lynch as executive director. The new board was sworn in by Associate Director Claudia Roberson.
The convention honored the lives lost since the 2019 convention with a special memorial. And in-person and remote guest speakers—including International President Lee Saunders and U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh—applauded the dedication of AFSCME Council 31 members during this dark chapter.
Three awards were given to AFSCME members who go the extra mile every day for their fellow union siblings:
- Angela Kuter, Local 416 vice president and Juvenile Justice Specialist at Illinois Youth Center-Saint Charles, won 2021 Steward of the Year, which recognizes an exceptional union steward for their service.
- Local 472 members at Sheridan Correctional Center Stephen Fanti, Nate Roberts, Karle Eccles and Matt Roth were honored with the 2021 Public Service Award for their brave actions at the scene of a devastating car crash this summer.
- And Local 2081 President Stephen Mittons is this year’s Jane Fitzgerald-Gloria Arseneau honoree, an award given to an AFSCME member who continues the legacies of those inveterate union activists by advancing the work of the union with tenacity and dedication.
And at this year’s convention, a new category of awards was created to recognize the critical role played by community members who support workers’ rights and help AFSCME members win important campaigns. The awardees were:
- Fidencio Hooper-Campos, member of the Whiteside County Board, for his tireless support of CGH Medical Center workers as they organized their union with AFSCME.
- Rev. John H. Thomas, for his inspiring advocacy on behalf of UCAN workers represented by AFSCME Local 3096 as they organized a union and won their first contract.
- Corryn Brock, Luke Taylor and The Daily Eastern News, for their diligent coverage of AFSCME Local 981’s fight to win a fair contract at Eastern Illinois University.
- Watch a video highlighting the work of AFSCME members during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Honor the memories of AFSCME members who we lost over the last two years in a special memorial video.
- Read the resolutions adopted by convention delegates.
- Read excerpts from speeches:
- Check out photos from this year’s convention.
- Enjoy music from the convention floor.