Northeast Kingdom, VERMONT: Today the progressive UNITED! Slate overwhelmingly won their third straight election for leadership positions within the Vermont State Labor Council, AFL-CIO at their annual Convention. United! prevailed in winning 18 of 19 Executive Board positions including David Van Deusen for President (2nd term), Dwight Brown for Executive Vice President (1st term), and Danielle Bombardier for Secretary-Treasurer (2nd term). United! also won elections for the Chair of the Rank & File Presidential Advisory Committee (Damion Gilbert), and for President of the Green Mountain Riders Union Motorcycle Club (Dan Brush). The election results are viewed as a mandate by the incoming leadership to keep moving in a more progressive direction.
UNITED! was formed in 2019 in response to the continuing decline of the labor movement happening all over the country, including right here in Vermont. Union density — the percentage of workers who belong to a labor union — has been hovering around 10% nationally, a record low. In Vermont, union density is 11.8% as of 2020, but has climbed in 2021 due to new organizing by UFCW, AFSCME, and AFT. The Vermont State Labor Council now has over 11,000 members.
The Slate came up with a Ten Point Program For Union Power to reverse this dangerous trend and revitalize the Labor Movement. At the heart of the program is a renewed focus on organizing, including directives for greater inclusivity and not being afraid to go out on strike.
Outgoing Executive Vice President Tristin Adie, who continues to represent AFGE on the board, has experienced the power of strikes firsthand and explains, “I was really struck by the breadth of experience represented by delegates to our convention. It was clear that we have a dynamic, combative network of union activists shaping up across this state. These are leaders who not only know how to fight for their brothers and sisters at work; they are figuring out how to use their power as workers to change the world.”
UNITED! and the Vermont State Labor Council gained national attention this past year when they overwhelmingly passed a General Strike resolution at their 2020 Convention in the event of Trump refusing to leave office on January 20.
Part of the work in rebuilding Vermont’s labor movement happens right at the annual Convention, and this year, in addition to holding elections, workshops were held to train members on organizing, strike preparation, and practicing social justice unionism.
Furthermore, important policy matters were adopted via Resolutions.
One resolution regarding anti-fascism and gun control was passionately debated. The resolution asserts Organized Labor’s right to own firearms and defend themselves and vulnerable communities from violent, white supremacist and anti-worker attacks. The resolution also asserted the responsibility of the Labor Movement to be prepared to defend democracy. This makes the Vermont AFL-CIO on record as the first major Labor body in Vermont to support the right to bear arms.
Commenting on their win and the Convention, the Labor Council’s first Black Executive Vice President, significant in of itself, Dwight Brown of AFSCME Local 1343 stated, “It is with great pride and humility that I step into the role of Executive Vice President of the Vermont State Labor Council AFL-CIO. I am so proud of the work we have done over the past two years. Our fight for worker’s rights continues, and for a more democratic AFL-CIO.”
LIST OF NEWLY ELECTED OFFICERS:
President, David Van Deusen, AFSCME 2413
Executive Vice President, Dwight Brown, AFSCME 1343
Secretary-Treasurer, Danielle Bombardier, IBEW 300
Vice President of AFT, Helen Scott, AFT 3203
VP for AFT, David Feurzeig, AFT 3203
VP for AFSCME, Katie Harris, AFSCME 1674
VP for IBEW, Brian Ritz, IBEW 300
VP for Postal Workers, Omar Fernandez, APWU-VT
VP for Federal Government Workers, Tristin Adie, AFGE 2604
VP for Bennington County, Dan Cornell, AFSCME 490
VP for Chittenden County, Marty Gil, IATSE 919
VP for Franklin and Grand Isle Counties, Alex Potvin, UA 693
VP for Lamoille County, Brittany Rhoads, AFSCME 3977
VP for Northeast Kingdom, Ruben Serrano, AFSCME 2413
VP for Washington and Orange Counties, Traven Leyshon, OPEIU 153
VP for Windham and Windsor Counties, Ali Brokenshire, AFSCME 1343
Chair of Rank & File Presidential Advisory Committee, Damion Gilbert, AFSCME 1343
President of the Green Mountain Riders Union Motorcycle Club, Dan Brush, Retired Teamsters
Go to the following link to read the platform of the VT AFL-CIO (Ten Point Program For Union Power, also known as The Little Green Book): https://vt.aflcio.org/news/vermont-afl-cio-ten-point-program