Local 749 Stewards Training Builds Strength, Solidarity

Stewards are the backbone and key to strong unions. Every day, they are the union people members most often see when they are at work. With the motivation to help strengthen judicial worksites and member communication, mobilization, and education, AFSCME Local 749, representing Connecticut judicial and criminal justice employees, hosted a stewards training.

On June 18th, 30 members attended the full-day training at the Local 749 office in Meriden. Council 4 Service Representative, Rudy Demiraj, led the training with Local 749 President, Ron Nelson, assisting. 

Stewards learned how to handle issues involving labor relations and contract enforcement. They also were trained on many of the rights union members have but may be unaware of.

“The leadership that stewards bring to the workplace is vital in representing the best interests of members,” said Demiraj. “These stewards stepped up to take on that role and are doing so with enthusiasm and a commitment to support their co-workers and create a fair workplace for all. Everyone was very engaged, and we look forward to seeing them take what they learned here and apply it to the challenges they see while on the job.”

Felix Rodriguez, a steward for the past 3 years who works with the Court Support Services Division in Glastonbury, saw multiple benefits from the training.

“Not only did the training help me feel more prepared in my role as a steward, but it was great to connect with other new and existing stewards,” said Rodriguez. “We had a challenging year working throughout COVID, so it was refreshing to see all these leaders coming together to create change and to make our union stronger.”

“I wanted to get more involved because I saw the importance of participation in building our union,” said Tony Duarte, a steward at the Manchester courthouse. “When members are engaged and activated, we all benefit. This training was a great first step in learning how to better advocate for our members.”

With a total of 37 trained stewards in roughly 27 Judicial Branch locations, AFSCME Local 749 now has its largest stewards group in recent history. Their leadership will bring strength and solidarity to the union for many years to come.

If interested in stewards training for your Local, contact Kelly Martinez, Director of Organizing and Member Services: [email protected]