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State Convention Concludes

On April 9, 2014, the annual convention of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO opened with Allegheny County Central Labor Council President introducing 60 vice presidents who represent 900,000 organized employees.

A few awards were presented, as Father Jack O'Malley was honored as "Citizen of the Year"; the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 459 and the Lehigh Valley Central Labor Council were also recognized for their community service.

Sean McGarvey, the President of the AFL-CIO North American President of Building and Construction Trades brought an upbeat message to the morning sessions, but also offered a challenge to the voters of Pennsylvania:

". . . whoever we support, our relationship with them has got to be outcome based. The days of supporting candidates with amnesia has got to stop; the people we elect have got to be held accountable for their actions.”

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto reviewed the role labor played in Pittsburgh, and spoke of the need to rebuild a strong middle class:

"Working people need to take action to restore the value of work and the middle class, we won’t survive with anything less. Pittsburgh is a city in transition from heavy industry to one of ‘eds, meds, and technology.’” No one is quite sure what that next phase will be but labor must be part of the solution."

President Bloomingdale reminded the delegates of the constant struggle to maintain a place at the bargaining table, and spoke of the soldidarity that was shown at events like the January press conference to announce opposition to the "paycheck protection" bill. Rick Bloomingdale and Frank Snyder were also both re-elected to another term as President and Secretary-Treasurer.

April 10 brought American Federation of State Commercial and Municipal Employees Lee Saunders to the podium, who opened his speech with a question of "Are we ready to kick some ass!" He proceeded to urge members to "attack our challenges with fierce urgency of now."

April 11 brought a roundtable on organizing, led by National AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. Four panelists spoke of their experiences organizing.

The convention concluded with a series of resolutions being passed in support of; increasing the minimum wage, fighting income inequality, sick leave legislation and immingration reform.

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