Labor Leadership Academy Will Provide New Opportunities

The Western CT Area Labor Federation and Eastern CT Area Labor Federation are excited to announce a new Labor Leadership Academy (LLA) that aims to create an exclusive opportunity for a diverse group of rising labor leaders. By developing a group of peers who work together, we will bolster future cross-sector solidarity and coalition building.

Participants will be emerging leaders identified and nominated by their affiliated locals or councils. We strongly encourage nominating those historically underrepresented in labor leadership, including but not limited to: Women, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color), and those under the age of 40.

The program will be led by four facilitators, including two retired AFSCME Council 4 activists, who are veterans of the Connecticut labor community: Peggy Buchanan, Steven Schrag, Blair Bertaccini (Local 269), Kit Salazar-Smith (Local 562/318). They will be joined throughout the program by a rotation of guest speakers and workshop leaders. 

At the end of the year, LLA Participants will have the skills necessary to continue serving CT Labor through our local Area Labor Federation chapters, and of course through their own unions.

Sessions will be conducted monthly, for 90 minutes-2.5 hours. Sessions will be conducted via Zoom until it is definitively safe to meet in person.

Potential participants who have the support of their union must fill out an application and be accepted into the program.

We are aiming for two participants from each of our ALF chapter areas:

Western CT ALF: Greater Danbury Central Labor Chapter, Fairfield County Central Labor Chapter, Greater New Haven Central Labor Chapter, Western CT Central Labor Coalition.

Eastern CT ALF: Greater Bristol Labor Federation, Central Connecticut Labor Chapter, Greater Hartford Central Labor Coalition, Southeastern Connecticut Central Labor Chapter.

The cost of participation is waived for members of local union affiliates already belonging to either Area Labor Federation. Training sessions will be conducted monthly, for 90 minutes-2.5 hours (via Zoom until it is definitively safe to meet in person). .

Council 4 supports the Western CT and Eastern CT ALFs and strongly encourages member-leaders in our local unions to consider applying for the Academy.

"The Labor Leadership Academy is a crucial step forward for the labor movement, " said Ed Hawthorne, Vice President of Local 269 (State P-2 Human & Social Services) and a member of the Council 4 Executive Board.

"We must give back and train the next generation of union leaders in a way that reflects the diversity of our members. As someone who has benefited greatly from peer mentoring I truly believe this program is an amazing opportunity for any rising labor leader," added Hawthorne, who also serves as president of the Western CT ALF and is a candidate for president of the Connecticut AFL-CIO.

Applications for the 2021-2022 year have been extended to August 31. 

To learn more, write to [email protected].