AFSCME Florida Convention kicks off with President Lee Saunders and a New Constitution

For almost four years, as attacks against organized labor reached a fever pitch nationwide, AFSCME members in Florida responded by launching a fierce and unprecedented organizing campaign unlike any the Sunshine State had seen before. Today, members started writing a new chapter in their union’s proud history by ratifying a new constitution on the first day of the AFSCME Florida Council 79's convention. 

The constitution puts AFSCME Florida on a new course in the fight for working people in Florida. Since the members voted in 2015 to move into organizing status so they can confront the challenges faced by working families, membership has grown by more than 4,000 new active and engaged members. President Saunders highlighted how this growth is part of a national trend that has seen AFSCME membership grow even as corporations and those opposed to working peoples’ rights ramped up their efforts to harm public services unions in the wake of Janus v. AFSCME. Just this week, AFSCME announced a gain of 9,097 dues-paying members and 18,638 dues-paying retirees in 2018. 

This is all a clear indication that the labor movement is alive and well in Florida and across the nation and that the #AFSCMEStrong campaign, which priorities one-on-one conversations and member-to-member engagement, has succeeded in revitalizing and modernizing our union. 

“You’ve brought about a huge and important culture change,” pronounced AFSCME President Lee Saunders at the start of the convention. “You are now a union that confronts employers and builds power and numbers every day by taking bold grassroots action.” That is exactly what being a union is all about, Saunders said. 

The energy that filled the room during Pres. Saunders’ speech continued throughout the day as delegates discussed their ideas of how to keep AFSCME Florida moving in the right direction. As they got to work on nominating officers and ratifying their contract, it was clear that they were already living up to his request that they remain “ready to roll, ready to fight, ready to win.”