AFSCME President Lee Saunders praised the House of Representatives for passing 

Council 4 Executive Director Jody Barr issued this statement in response to Gov. Lamont's Feb. 22 announcement regarding changes to the State's vaccine rollout plans.

There is good news for AFSCME members looking to pursue higher education. AFSCME Free College has made its 

Black History Month is a time to reflect on the contributions Black people have made to the strength and vitality of our nation. It is also an opportunity to consider how the labor movement – and public employee unions in particular – have created a pathway to the middle class for so many Black families.

We asked four members of Council 4 to share their personal reflections on Black History Month and the role unions can play in strengthening that connection between economic justice and racial justice.

As a veteran bus driver for Norwalk Transit, Allen Blade knows a thing or two about navigating through crises and going above and beyond the call.

“I really enjoy serving the public, and getting people where they have to go. You meet all kinds of people in this business,” he shared. “You’re more than a bus driver, sometimes. We can be counselors and psychologists.”

In a victory spurred by board of education employees and their unions, Gov. Lamont  on Feb. 4 signed an executive order that requires local school districts to provide paid quarantine leave for public school educators and staff.

The advocacy of Council 4 and the other unions that comprise our school employee coalition played an instrumental role in this outcome. Unions working together – with members signing petitions and contacting their legislators and the governor – made a positive difference. 

The U.S. Conference of Mayors has sent a letter to Congress that echoes what AFSCME has been saying for months: It’s long past time to robustly fund the front lines.

Sean Howard, a State of Connecticut correction officer and president of AFSCME Local 387, (Council 4) contracted COVID-19 last year. He now has a heart condition and is on several medications.

“I still deal with fatigue and shortness of breath,” said Howard, who works at the Cheshire Correctional Institution. “My cardiologist said this is something I will always deal with, and that my life may never be the same.”

408,697 and 6,819.

Those figures represent (as of Jan. 23, 2021) the number of people who have died from COVID-19, nationwide and in Connecticut, since the deadly virus struck last year.

The statistics are staggering and mind-numbing. It’s only when we attach faces to the numbers that we can begin to understand the devastating impact of this pandemic. 

Eleanor DeShields of AFSCME Local 1522 (Bridgeport Board of Education/City) was one of those faces. The veteran paraprofessional at Wilbur Cross Elementary in Bridgeport died from COVID-19 on Dec. 10. She was 68.

The 28th Connecticut Council 4 AFSCME Convention was held on Saturday, January 23, 2021 at our union headquarters in New Britain, CT with adherence to all safety protocols.

The purpose of this Convention (rescheduled from last year due to COVID-19) was for elections and installation of seventeen (17) Vice Presidents comprising our Executive Board and the installation of the entire Board (including Executive Officers who were elected in 2018).

Board of Education (BOE) Union Coalition leaders are urging Governor Ned Lamont create a clear, uniform policy regarding how school districts should handle quarantines and leaves in our public schools.

Labor leaders (including Council 4 Executive Director Jody Barr) wrote in a January 8 letter  to Lamont that too many districts are not following procedures established by health experts for responding to COVID-19 exposures. Those local school officials are jeopardizing the health and safety of their communities and the success of their students.