Standing Up for Workers’ Rights at the State Capitol

Editor's Note: The 2019 legislative session adjourned on June 5. Our review is coming soon!

With the legislature drawing closer to its adjournment, Council 4 members made their voice heard in support of workers’ rights at the State Capitol in Hartford.

Our annual Legislative Lobby Day on May 22 energized approximately 200 workers from many different Council 4 unions. Our members heard from some great guest speakers, including Labor Committee Co-Chair Robyn Porter, who reminded us about the important role unions play in promoting a fair economy:

State Representatives and AFSCME members . Anthony Nolan of New London and Mike DiMassa of West Haven alsoemphasized the importance of engagement in the legislative process. Nolan is a member of AFSCME Local 724 (New London Police); DiMassa is a member of AFSCME Local 681 (City of West Haven). 

  • Click here for an excerpt of Anthony Nolan's remarks.
  • Click here for an excerpt of Mike DiMassa's remarks.

A major highlight of Lobby Day was the presentation of the Council 4 PEOPLE Person of the Year Awards to Ronda Charette of Local 610 (NP-3 State Clerical) and Steve Wierbicki of Local 269 (P-2 State Human Services) in recognition of their extraordinary activism on behalf of our union’s political action program.

“We need to fight now, more than ever,” Charette exhorted the crowd. “Let’s stay strong keep up the fight.” 

Wierbicki added, “I love talking to our members about how important politics are important. “Employers did not give us a thing. We are the beneficiaries of struggles that were fought long before us.”

Another Lobby Day highlight took place when House of Representatives ushered in Council 4 members for recognition in the stately sanctum of the House Chamber where legislation is debated. Deputy House Speaker Matthew Ritter of Hartford thanked Council 4 members for their service to the public, sparking a round of applause from legislators. 

Lobby Day provided participants with an opportunity to speak with their legislators about different issues, such as establishing paid family and medical leave, raising revenues fairly by taxing the wealthy, opposing privatization of the UConn Health Center, and supporting a collective bargaining agreement for newly organized members of AFSCME Local 749 (State Judicial Branch).

Council 4 members got to see firsthand the value of legislative and political engagement, as the House of Representatives voted 80-59 to support the aforementioned agreement between Local 749 and the Judicial Branch. (A week later, the State Senate passed the memorandum of understanding, which extends union rights to 125 employees who joined Local 749 and Council 4 last year, by a margin of 18-17.)

Click here for the 2019 Council 4 Lobby Day Photo Gallery.