Vermont AFL-CIO: United! Candidates capture all eleven leadership positions following special election. Leftist Shift In VT Labor Affirmed By Locals.
Submitted to Enough 14.
8/15/20 Montpelier, VT – In a special election for Vice President seats within the Vermont AFL-CIO, the United! slate captured ALL eight leadership positions that were up for grabs. The newly elected VP’s will join already elected officers David Van Deusen (President), Tristin Adie (Executive Vice President), and Danielle Bombardier (Secretary-Treasurer); the three of which were previously supported by United!. Approximately 70 Delegates/Alternates representing thousands of rank and file Union members, registered/took part in the election process. The Elections/Credentials Committee was chaired by Alex Potvin (IBEW Local 300). The election process was facilitated by the National AFL-CIO
Newly Elected VP are as follows:
• At-Large VP: Ron Schneiderman (UFCW Local 1459);
• AFSCME VP: Dwight Brown (AFSCME Local 1343);
• AFT VPs: Helen Scott (UA-UVM) & David Feurzeig (UA-UVM);
• Building Trades VP: Tim LaBombard (IBEW Local 300);
• Federal Government Workers VP: Mike Ross (AFGE Local 2076);
• IBEW VP: Brian Ritz (IBEW Local 300);
• Postal Workers VP: Omar Fernandez (APWU-VT)
These VPs will join already seated officers:
• President: David Van Deusen (AFSCME Local 2413);
• Executive Vice President: Tristin Adie (AFGE Local 2604);
• Secretary-Treasurer: Danielle Bombardier (IBEW Local 300);
The United! group seeks to articulate a new more progressive politics for Organized Labor within the Vermont AFL-CIO and other (non-affiliated) Unions. Central to its platform (which has been officially adopted as the platform of the Vermont AFL-CIO) is support for a Union led Green New Deal, expanded social benefits for all working people, internal Union democracy, and a more direct democracy for Vermont as a whole. This platform, Ten Point Program For Union Power (also known as “The Little Green Book”) can be read at the following link: https://vt.aflcio.org/news/vermont-afl-cio-ten-point-program
The most watched race was for the At-Large Vice President position. Here, United! candidate Ron Schneiderman faced off against long time (former) VT AFL-CIO Political Director Dennis Labounty (USW). Ron Schneiderman, from Brattleboro, prevailed with 57% of the delegate vote against Dennis Labounty’s 43%. Only the smaller AFL-CIO Unions (not represented by other VP’s, and with less than 1000 members) were eligible to vote in this race.
Schneiderman’s victory means that United! has now captured every leadership position in the Vermont State Labor Council AFL-CIO. The new leadership (like following the September 2019 Convention) continues to represent an unprecedented level of diversity with 5 of the 11 positions on the Executive Board being women or BIPOC.
United! initially took power in September after winning 14 of 15 leadership seats at the 2019 Convention. However, it was later determined that the VP elections had to be re-run, through this special election, due to the previous administration (which did not include United! officers) having conducted the September elections according to outdated by-laws.
The special election was widely viewed within Labor as a referendum on the past 11 months of United! leadership; a time which has seen the VT AFL-CIO move to the Union-left on numerous issues. With this sweep United! affirmed widespread support among affiliated Locals for the changes it has thus far implemented.
VT AFL-CIO President David Van Deusen states: “I am proud of the more than 30 affiliates who took part in this election. And while I am pleased we elected such great Union leaders, I am also happy to extend our hand of friendship and solidarity to those affiliates who exercised their democratic right to put forward other views and candidates. This is what Union democracy is all about.
“With the election now behind us, I know I speak for the entire Executive Board when I say that with COVID-19 and the economic crisis threatening the health and livelihoods of all our members (and working Vermonters generally), together we will need to be ready to fight to protect our jobs and to emerge from this crisis stronger as a working class.
“We need to fight to win a Union led Green New Deal. We need to make sure we rebuild the economy through massive public investment and progressive taxation of the richest among us. We need to fight to make sure our Building Trades get the work of construction done with public dollars. We need to fight to make sure our public employees in the cities, towns, and schools retain their positions and continue to deliver the quality public service Vermonters rely on. We need to fight to support our medical workers to make sure they have the safeguards and PPE they require during the pandemic. And together, we need to fight to transform Vermont into a place where the needs of working people come first, and not the greed and small mindedness of the wealthy elite. But I know that united we are Union strong and I know that united we will win!”
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