AFSCME Council 8 members kicked off the first day of the 21st Biennial Convention with greetings from Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley, Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune, Cincinnati CLC Executive Secretary-Treasurer Peter McLinden. President Lyall departed from the usual convention topics for a sobering assessment of the challenges facing our union, and to pay tribute to AFSCME Council 8 leader Bob Brindza who recently passed away.
President Lyall noted that Brindza was largely responsible for transforming our union into one of the most powerful unions in the state. Bob Brindza led the Council 8 from 1978 to 1991. He inspired our membership to be more than just dues payers, and instead prioritized mobilizing our membership to be active in both civic and political life. President Lyall emphasized that Bob knew that an active membership was the only way to guarantee the continued growth and success of the union. “It’s our responsibility to continue his generation’s vision and legacy, and carry it into the future.”
President Lyall also highlighted progress we’ve made towards the goals delegates identified during our convention two years ago. We’ve gained 400 new members and elected pro-worker mayors in Toledo, Cuyahoga Falls and Dayton. AFSCME Council 8 also fended off an attack by the Tea Party to privatize the Cincinnati Retirement System. “We fought back at the ballot box and won a resounding victory for public sector workers by a 78% to 22% margin.”
One of the largest roars of approval during President Lyall’s speech focused on Governor Kasich’s attempts to strip collective bargaining rights and local control from school districts in financial distress. “If we don’t stop this in the court, we will take it to the streets and raise more hell than we did with SB5!”