UE members participating in the Leadership and Staff Development Program met for the first time on October 21 and 22 via Zoom. This program will be a year-long set of meetings and activities for UE members from racial and ethnic backgrounds that are currently underrepresented in UE leadership or on the UE staff.
The first sessions discussed goals that the participants have as well as goals for the union. The meeting also grounded participants in UE’s principles found in Them and Us Unionism, UE’s 2020 booklet. Additionally, members left with homework to do some assessments of their local in collaboration with other local leaders. They’ll be asked to report back to the group at the next LSDP meeting, which will be held virtually in December.
Antwon Gibson, Local 610, is a participant in the program. In a wrap-up conversation he noted how much he is looking forward to meeting and talking with everyone in-person, but found the initial meetings inspiring. “I look forward to having a great conversation, so we can help each other grow. I look for great leadership out of this whole thing,” he said.
Dominic Harris, Local 150, said he appreciated starting with Them and Us Unionism with the group. He noted that he had read selections of it before but he “sat down to read all the way through all of it. It was very enlightening. I like to get the history.”
The national union is subsidizing eight participants in the program: Fred Hatef, Local 1008, Larry Hopkins, Local 1177, Wayne Morrison, Local 243, Delores Phillips, Local 1118, Sekia Royall, Local 150, Malcolm Toran, Local 683, Gibson, and Harris. Additional participants include Erica Collins, Local 119, and Sabir Sabir, Local 1421, who are being subsidized by their locals. UE project staff Chris Hollis and Charles Brown are also participating. The program curriculum is being coordinated by Local 150 member Angaza Laughinghouse, retired UE International Rep. Kim Lawson, and Director of Education Kari Thompson.