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SEATTLE – A bill in Congress to address workplace violence for health-care and social-service workers is moving closer to a vote in the House. 

Surrounded by friends and colleagues, Pat Bailey was awarded the Laurie Merta Steward of the Year Award. The ceremony took place June 1st at the Rise Up conference.

The award is presented to a shop steward who has “demonstrated outstanding skills to help members and build up the union in the workplace.” Bailey fits the bill.

“I’ve seen her drop everything to listen to someone,” said Jade Monroe. “Immediately she’s very caring.”

WFSE staff and members are mourning the death of labor attorney Anita Hunter.

Before joining the legal team at the Airline Pilots Association in 2017, Hunter was a fierce advocate for WFSE members and served as the union’s in-house general counsel for 11 years. She passed away on Friday, May 24, at the age of 49.

“The labor movement is a richer place for Anita’s contributions,” said Executive Director Greg Devereux. “She was tough, unselfish, and incredibly principled.  She will be terribly missed by us all.”

"Knowledge is power."

Two hundred WFSE activists gathered for the June 1-2 Rise Up! Conference in SeaTac. The event brought together stewards and member organizers from across Washington to share workplace wins and learn skills and best practices.

AFSCME International President Lee Saunders addressed the conference on opening day and applauded the union’s success in a post-Janus environment.

“I want to thank all of you who’ve come to this conference to upgrade your skills and become even better member leaders,” said Saunders.

Last year, after nearly 25 years of working hard at her job at the University of Michigan, Deborah Van Horn was forced out of work by health issues and soon found herself in need of financial assistance.

“I was put on disability, but after a while you only get about 50 percent of your normal wages,” she recounts. “It was important to me to cover general expenses and keep my credit in good standing.”

Last week WFSE welcomed new Mental Health Practitioner Leads and Mental Health Practitioner Clinical Specialists at the Harborview Medical Center to our union. The workers came together for a voice on the job, rallying around issues of discrimination, safety, and fair pay.

They join the rising tide of AFSCME’s United We Heal campaign, elevating the voices and needs of the workers who are striving to modernize an industry that has long lagged behind modern needs.