Published 29 Jun, 2015
Following the June IEC meeting, presidents and officers from a number of Transit, Universities, Utilities and Services Division locals gathered in Chicago to discuss key issues, attend a number of trainings, and continue to build strength and unity within the division.
The meeting began with an ambitious call to action from International Vice President, Administrative Assistant to the International President and Division Director Jerome Lafragola, who urged everyone to pay particular attention to turning meeting conversations into action, and on using the conference not only as an opportunity to learn, but a way to empower and inspire members to follow through and implement the strategies discussed. The call to action was to continue moving forward on the agenda set at the convention, and to develop the tools and internal organization for members to engage in TWU’s progress.
Members enjoyed trainings and presentations that offered critical insight and updates on surface transit reauthorization legislation, and laid out the beginnings of a plan for TWU to engage in continued lobbying and political action in order to protect this important funding. The group then heard a dynamic presentation of theories and tactics to educate union members and combat apathy, focusing on the need to build union power and reestablish unions as a critical tool to fight corporate greed and inequality. The presentation resonated well with the officers.
“I like that he made the content simple enough that I can take it back and implement it,” said LaTonya Crisp-Suray, Local 100 Recording Secretary.
Debra Hagan, Local 252 President agreed, adding, “The small group discussions were really effective in building stronger unity among us.”
The meeting began day two with a dynamic social media and online marketing training. The presentation walked through the importance of developing a strong, cohesive social media strategy that meets members and activists where they are, and tailors to how they like to receive and interact with information.
Olando Epps, 1st Vice President from Local 208, found the training helpful, saying, “It was very informative. We use a lot of these tools already, but we’ll definitely be incorporating the things we learned here today.”
Attendees also received an overview of school bus industry issues, followed by presentations from International Administrative Vice President John Bland, Vice Presidents Carl Martin and Curtis Tate, and Theotis James. The meeting concluded with the traditional president’s roundtable discussion, where everyone shared timely feedback, pressing issues, and an appreciation for the transit staff in putting the meeting together.
Participants left the meeting eager to return to their locals to continue making progress on engaging members and fighting for TWU’s priorities. Several remarked that they were looking forward to taking words and putting them into action in the name of advancing the union’s national agenda.