by R.W. Anderson, former AFL-CIO International Field Auditor
May, 2012 #12: I, as the founder of the United Staff Union (USU - www.UnitedStaffUnion.net, previously American Independent Staff Union) attended the first day, Sun. June 17, 2012, of the 40th Convention of AFSCME, AFL-CIO, which is the largest union of public employees in the U.S.
The purpose of this convention is to elect new officers and conduct the direction that the Union will take over the next two years. While there Sunday, I received greetings from a number of the guests, delegates and officers of AFSCME. There are about 5,000 people attending the convention and I was reassured by many that the battle is not over in Wisconsin.
The recall of the Wisconsin Governor failed because of, among other things, great influence from out of the state money and contributions like from the Koch brothers. Incidentally, AFSCME was founded in Wisconsin and the first president was Arnold Zander, who was succeeded by Jerry Wurf, who in turn was succeeded by current President Gerald W. McEntee. I also participated in the bus tour to the UCLA Labor Center in Los Angeles and after that participated in informational picketing of some of the car washes that are in the process of being organized.
Overall, it was a very enjoyable day for me. The convention continues through Friday of this week and is open to guests from the public. It's rather ironic that the state in which AFSCME was organized, Wisconsin, the Republican Governor of Wisconsin has implemented a change in the law taking away collective bar - gaining rights from public employee unions.
- Roland W. Anderson
Editor's Note/My Dad the Union Guy: I asked my Dad to write this article up for my paper a few years ago - he "dictated" it to me over the phone, as was his business-like practice in the 60s. My Father passed last month, Sept. 13, 2016.
Besides having served in U.S. Army, Intelligence, he was a never-ending "Optimist", a supporter of "the worker," and against the corruption which also adversely impacted the Unions in the 60s. As an AFSCME "International Field Auditor," Roland traveled to our cities, Detroit, NYC, Chicago, Memphis, etc. in his diligent auditing capacity to "keep the unions honest." He was directly involved with Cesar Chavez in helping protect and Organize the United Farm Workers (at times my family was "banned" from buying grapes during UFW boycotts). Both Dad and Chavez had shared "Arizona" as their Home State - I met Chavez at least once, he was all business.
Roland was also working directly with M.L. King in Memphis on that fateful April day. He was helping King, with the union securing funds to pay the mounting and considerable expenses for the families of the sanitation workers, nearly all if not 100 percent whom were black. They were striking because they had been terribly neglected by their government employer - embarrassingly low wages and benefits. The horrible day after Rev. King was murdered, cash donations from all over the world began to flood in to the sanitation union, all in support of those left behind, the families.
This was an international and practical heartfelt honor of King. Afterwards my father meticulously and diligently accounted for the overwhelming flood of donations in Memphis - and took him several months more of very hard work at AFSCME headquarters in Washington D.C. Incidentally, it was located directly across the street from the Washington Post, just as Watergate exploded. He had a front row window seat to the significant surge of historic activity in and out of the Post's front door, he had recalled.
After my Dad passed last month [Sept. 2016], I found a large framed photo (above reproduced), "I have a Dream" among his treasured things. Always proud of him and his accomplishments. - Ed.
This Article: http://bit.ly/2eHwGLa
SOURCE: VIEW Issue 46, May, 2012