Pennsylvania delegates strengthen first-ever virtual AFSCME Convention

AFSCME hosted its 44th International Convention virtually on August 13 and 14. It will be concluded on Wednesday, September 2.

AFSCME President Lee Saunders opened the Convention with a keynote address, urging AFSCME members and activists to “stand up” for our union’s values and get into “good trouble” in honor of the late John Lewis.

AFSCME President Lee Saunders delivers his keynote address to delegates of the International Convention for his 21st time and for the first time virtually.

Saunders spoke about AFSCME’s reaction to the Janus ruling that many expected to be a knockout blow to the labor movement.

“In the face of an existential threat, we squared our shoulders, and we stood our ground. We refused to let the wealthy special interests break our will. In overwhelming numbers, AFSCME’s members stood up and said, ‘hell no, I’m sticking with my union!'”

AFSCME Council 13’s presence was felt, even from a distance. Executive Director David Fillman chaired the Rules and Order of Business Committee, and AFSCME District Council 90 Director Carla Insinga chaired the Credentials Committee.

Multiple Council 13 sisters and brothers, including Council 13 President Jane Gill, spoke in favor of various resolutions aimed at advancing the rights of working people, defending public service workers, protecting civil rights, and more.

Council 13 was proud to be recognized for raising the second most money overall and the seventh most money per member for the PEOPLE program.

President of AFSCME Local 2147 (Lackawanna County Trades & Labor) Jack Evans spoke out against the failures of the Trump Administration and in favor of electing Joe Biden in the upcoming election.

“It’s time to heal. It’s time to move forward. It’s time to elect Joe Biden,” Evans said.

Vice President Joe Biden addressed the Convention, praising public service workers and committing to funding the front lines.

“The support of AFSCME’s family means the world to me,” Biden said to delegates.

Retiring AFSCME International Vice Presidents were honored for their years of service, including former District Council 84 Director Richard Caponi. We wish him the best in retirement and thank him for his many contributions to this union and this movement.

On day 2, AFSCME Secretary-Treasurer Elissa McBride spoke about her work to build stronger local unions and the invaluable contributions of Volunteer Member Organizers (VMOs).

“One of the most important and inspiring parts of my job is to support you in building strong and growing local unions. That means being on the front lines of activism – side-by-side with you on the doors, in the streets, and in the caravans,” McBride said.

AFSCME Secretary-Treasurer Elissa McBride addresses delegates virtually on the second day of the 44th International Convention.

International delegates supported Lee Saunders and Elissa McBride for four more years as President and Secretary-Treasurer, respectively, by acclamation.

Pennsylvania delegates supported AFSCME Council 13 Executive Director David Fillman and AFSCME District Council 85 Director David Henderson as International Vice Presidents of AFSCME by acclamation. Fillman was re-elected to his sixth term and Henderson was elected to his first.

Congratulations to these great leaders!

More updates and information about the 44th International Convention can be found here.