Local Leaders Launch Ignites Local 443

Our union is a growing and expanding force. We face workplace issues, contract negotiations, and legislative fights head-on, and we’ll #NeverQuit. But for us to succeed, we must constantly pull in new members, potential activists, and leaders-to-be.

In early January, leaders and activists from WFSE Local 443 gathered to delve into the business of union-building with the Local Leaders Launch (LLL) program. LLL introduces new skills, gives participants the chance to stop and think about the big picture, and offers hands-on experience with reaching out to coworkers.

"We need to be able to tell new employees why belonging to the union is so important, because our unity is our power to win victories in our contract and to make things better at work,” said participant Shelby Meyenburg.

LLL participants explored the power of telling your story as an organizing tool. They learned more about the past of the labor movement, what solidarity can achieve, and what we can learn to prepare for our future. They practiced signing up new members and setting goals. 

Attendees strategized ways to move equity and inclusion forward in our union, a critical part of organizing strategy as we think about increasing membership and building widespread power. 

"In the past few years, we were on the defense,” said Carmyn Shute.

“Now I see us going on the offense, moving forward. We need to support each other, every union worker in this town, all the workers. We need to build that strength of all of us. When the teachers were on strike, we'd bring them coffee and walk with them. That's how our union got stronger, by reaching out. We stand with all the other unions in this town."

LLL attendees walked away with detailed plans and goals to build membership at Local 443. In this program and at the worksite, Local 443 members are demonstrating our union values through teamwork, organizing, and always, solidarity. 

Fired up about opportunities to strengthen your local and engage your coworkers? Check out Igniting Engagement With Your Union this Saturday, January 25th in Olympia.

Photos by Daniel O'Donnell, AFSCME Field Education Coordinator