Union Membership Hits Home for Local 1303 Scholarship Winners

Congratulations are in order for the eight winners of the 2019 AFSCME Local 1303 College Scholarships. These scholars are ready to take the next step toward their higher education, aided by a $1,000 award from Local 1303, which represents more than 7,000 municipal and board of education employees across Connecticut.

Every year, Local 1303’s Scholarship Committee selects eight high school seniors to receive the awards. The criteria for selection include having a parent who is a dues-paying member of Local 1303 and completing an essay about how union membership has benefited a student’s family.

“We are pleased to help these inspiring young women and men pursue the next level of their education,” said Local 1303 Chapter President Michael Gilberto of Local 1303-061 (West Hartford Board of Education). “Their families are proof that union membership builds strong communities and a strong middle class.”

At the time the scholarship is awarded, students must be enrolled in a full-time degree program either at an accredited college or university, or at a two-year institution that will transfer credits to a four-year institution.

Congratulations to the 2019 winners. The winners are listed below with their AFSCME Local 1303 parents listed in parentheses, along with a brief excerpt from their essays:

  • Michelle Bowman, Marist College (Francine Bowman, Local 1303-374, Town of Cheshire): “When I needed to have surgery, my mother was able to stay home and take care of me while I recovered because of the family sick leave that is included in her union contract. It makes me feel assured that if something catastrophic were to happen, our family would be protected by the union.”
  • Jenna Chironno, Gateway Community College (Gina Chironno, Local 1303-228, Town of North Branford): “My parents enjoy the support, stability and security [the union] provides on issues that are important to them, such as wages, health care, and working conditions…I hope to offer the same amazing support and security to my family as my mother did for all of us.”
  • Allison Cote, Assumption College (Lynne Cote, Local 1303-197, Glastonbury BoE): “I attended a union rally in March 2017 with my mom to support her and other union members that were threatened by our legislature’s [proposals] to take away collective bargaining. This was an eye opening event. My mom explained to me the importance of having the protection of a union. It was nice to see the solidarity of union members and I could feel the strength in numbers.”
  • Jamie Galovich, University of Connecticut (Barbra Galovich, Local 1303-473, Town of Ellington): “Being part of a union family is like a safety blanket for me. It not only provides and protects my mother; it benefits the whole family. The union provides my mother job security, ensures time for family, offers special benefits for the household, and protects us all far into the future. We are protected by a powerful organization that continues to fight for her rights as a worker.”

  • Madison Monroe, Hamilton College (Ellen Monroe, Local 1303-276, Berlin BoE): “Ever since [AFSCME] began, this union has been assisting employees and preventing them from being exploited at the whim of employers. This is a courageous fight that causes me to fully believe that a union is more like a family. I hope to one day join this family that my mother is already a part of by becoming a [dues] paying union member.”
  • Erin Nosel, University of Connecticut (Ellen Nosel, Local 1303-427, Town of Stafford Springs): “Being part of a union demonstrates that we are stronger together. Unions protect workers and helped build the middle class. Fair pay and benefits help everyone. My mom gets holidays and vacation and sick time because of the union, which gives her time at home to be with us.”
  • Brandon Peate, Temple University (Deborah Peate, Local 1303-276, Berlin BoE): “Being part of a union family brought financial security to my family. If not for the union, attending a four-year university would be much more of a challenge. Additionally, my mother would not have been able to take care of herself or me during sickness while still remaining financially stable. My life would be drastically different right now if not for AFSCME.”
  • Alexa Reginatto, Coastal Carolina University (Gerald Reginatto, Local 1303-39, West Hartford BoE): “When I was 9 years old, my Dad was diagnosed with cancer. Having been diagnosed with something so horrible, and facing the biggest fight for his life, it was something he or my family couldn’t have done without the union. Because of the union, my Dad had excellent health care coverage and accrued sick time. My family did not go bankrupt.”

Photo, l-r: Madison Monroe, Ellen Monroe, Brandon Peate, Deborah Peate, Michelle Bowman, Fran Bowman, Jamie Galovich, Barbra Galovich, Lynne Cote, Allison Cote, Ellen Nosel, Erin Nosel, Gina Chironno, Jenna Chironno, Jerry Reginatto and Alexa Reginatto.