North Florida Locals Hold AFSCME Strong BBQ

AFSCME members from across north Florida overwhelmed the picnic area at the City of Jacksonville’s Fretwell Park on the west side of the city last weekend. Members were there to celebrate the summer, rekindle of friendships, form new connections and celebrate the momentum AFSCME is enjoying with 509 new members signed up in 2017 the Jacksonville area alone. 

“We have been putting in the hard work, local by local, work site by worksite, and today is about celebrating that, celebrating being part of the AFSCME family and showing that we really are not just stronger together but more fun together too,” said Victor Jackson, president of AFSCME Local 1279, City of Jacksonville Employees.

Members brought out their families to enjoy music, bounce castles, games and, of course, lots and lots of really good food cooked to perfection by AFSCME members themselves. And to top it all off, a home-made dessert contest was held with AFSCME Florida council staff forced to serve as a panel of judges deciding which sinfully delicious treat deserved one the prizes awarded for the top three.

For Retiree Subchapter 42 vice president Patricia Pearson, it was a chance to reconnect with old friends and discover new AFSCME family she never knew she had.

“What is great about something like this is that anytime you get so many people together you wind up seeing someone you know from somewhere else and finding out they are part of your AFSCME family too,” said Pearson. “But many of us are here to party with a purpose because we are strategizing on how we can keep growing the retiree chapter, all these locals and of course make sure we are getting plans together now for the next AFSCME convention so we can take this energy on the road!”

Storm clouds threatened to interrupt the festivities at various points throughout the morning and afternoon event but the rain held off and the temperatures remained nice enough for the dancing to continue even after the last of food came off the smoker.

“This was months in the making but really it is just another step in the journey,” said Marlene Pauldo, recording secretary for AFSCME Local 2941, Duval County Public Schools. “Now we take all these connections and turn those into new membership cards and even more energy. That way, we can do this again next year and make it an annual AFSCME event.”