By JEFF JOHNSON
(Dec. 7, 2018) — I want to congratulate Larry Brown and April Sims on their election to the offices of President and Secretary Treasurer of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO.
They take the reins of leadership at a time when the WSLC is stronger than it has been in decades, known nationwide for our work supporting low-wage workers, immigrant worker rights, building strong community alliances and power for working families, and fighting for economic, social, racial and climate justice. Because of significant gains in our State Legislature through the efforts of the WSLC and our affiliates, they are strategically poised to win further gains for working people and our unions in the 2019 legislative session.
But they now also have the awesome responsibility of leading the state labor movement at a most critical moment in our history. Our enemies on the right will continue to assault us in every way that they can, at the same time that workers continue to suffer from gross income and wealth inequality, attacks on public sector workers and the benefits that make up the “common good,” increasing threats to our jobs, income, property, communities, and survival from climate disaster, as well as a rise in nativism and racism.
They will have to pull deep and be the moral compass for the labor movement, even when that is not the easiest thing to do. Fortunately they have one of the best state federation staffs in the country to help them navigate these issues.
It is time for all affiliates to help Larry and April be the bold leaders that we need them to be to keep growing the labor movement. I stand ready to help them in any way they need.
I also want to recognize and thank my partner for these last eight years, our Secretary Treasurer, Lynne Dodson. She has given her heart and soul to our movement. She has always led with her values and she has always worked in the best interests of workers, our affiliates, and our community allies.
Lynne took the WSLC from the worst budget deficit in its history to a surplus, saved the Olympia building from the chopping block, has been a fierce warrior on trade policy, apprenticeship, and fighting racism, has brought working class culture back to the front and center while honoring cultural workers, and has never stopped believing that the labor movement is about bread but it is about roses, too.
Lynne is a fierce leader who never backed down from a just fight. Her leadership at the WSLC will be greatly missed.
Lynne, from the bottom of my heart I want to thank you for always having my back, always being a positive and progressive influence, and for caring so passionately about working people and the working class. In Solidarity, Sister!
Jeff Johnson is President of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO.