“It’s critical as a Council Rep
to know and understand our
role and be instrumental
on behalf of membership –
understanding the resources
available and to know where
to get help if needed.”
Council Rep, Renton, R- 3
SPEEA Council Convention/Leadership
Conference – ‘Empowering Future Activists’
By Karen McLean
SPEEA Publications Editor
SEATTLE–Feelingenergizedandinspired, Council Reps and activists gained more than lessons learned from two days of
union business, training and guest speakers.
They also learned the
importance of tapping into
the young professionals in
SPEEA bargaining units
who have yet to start making their voices heard.
The Leadership Conference
Future Activists,’ helped
shape many of the workshops offered as well as the
messages from guest speakers.
IFPTE President Greg Junemann urged the
leadership conference participants to recruit
members based on their skills and interests.
“Then be open to what they want to do,” he said.
Keynote conference speaker Paul Almeida,
president of the Department for Professional
Employees (DPE), AFL-CIO, admitted he had
no intention of becoming a labor leader. He went
to school to become an engineer, a career he
held at Stone & Webster for 24 years. See more
of Almeida’s story on page 6.
Guest speaker Paul Shearon, IFPTE secretary-
treasurer, shared his experiences from recent
contract negotiations for a new bargaining unit
in IFPTE Local 70. Every one of the union mem-
bers on the negotiation team was under the age
of 30. “They are smart, quick to pick things up
– they know their stuff.”
Training workshops covered a number of topics
critical to the Council Rep’s role in the work-
place, such as grievance handling for workplace
issues, and a legislative update which featured
Many workshops focused on
gap with young
who are the
largest group in
the labor market
since the baby
director for DPE,
presented results of the DPE
survey of more than 1,000
professionals who are not in a union. The
younger workers surveyed indicated a strong
interest (64%) in union representation.
At a workshop called “What Does the Future of
SPEEA Look Like?,” dozens of young members
took part along with Council Reps
to discuss union issues and outreach.
The Northwest Young Members
Committee emailed an invitation to
this workshop only to a much larger
group, and many signed up and most
of them continued talking hours after
the conference ended.
Newly elected officers
from three states
At the Council convention the eve-
ning before the conference, Council Reps re-
elected Chair Theryl Johnson, Seattle, to serve
another term. SPEEA Council Treasurer Emily
Brent-Fulps, Portland, Oregon, and SPEEA
Council Secretary Ben Blankley, Wichita, were
both newly elected to serve as SPEEA Council
In addition to voting on motions to set policy,
the Council Reps also shared ‘good of the union’
stories highlighting successes in the workplace.
Johnson appreciated seeing Council Reps from
multiple states in the same room. The rest of the
year, SPEEA Council meetings are conducted via
televideo between the three halls, with Council
The Council Reps
from outside of the
Puget Sound met in
an special ‘
out-of-towners’ session to
discuss site-specific concerns with the SPEEA
Executive Board and staff.
More coverage on pages 6-7.
“You need to know how to
best serve your members. I’ve
been in management before
– you need to know how to
handle it. You can’t just shoot
from the hip. You have to be
Developmental Center, D- 1
Shown above are members who took part in a workshop called “What Does the Future of SPEEA Look Like?”at the SPEEA Leadership Conference. Many younger members were invited
specifically to this workshop because of their interest. The NW Young Member Committee hosted the afternoon workshop, which included a panel discussion. Several members stayed after
the conference ended to continue the discussion for a few more hours. The next meeting of the Young Members Committee is July 26. See the online calendar at www.speea.org for details.
Congratulations to newly elected SPEEA Council officers (from left): Secretary
Ben Blankley, Wichita, Treasurer Emily Brent-Fulps, Portland, Oregon, and
Chair Theryl Johnson, Seattle.