The 61st Annual Montana AFL-CIO Constitutional Convention took place June 1st through the 3rd in Billings and was a great success and was attended by nearly 100 labor leaders and members representing tens of thousands of workers and their families. The Convention began with a powerful Invocation by Dr. Marc Stewart of the United Church of Christ. Guest speakers included Labor allies such as Senator Jon Tester, Governor Steve Bullock, Commissioner Robyn Driscoll, Commissioner of Labor Pam Bucy, Deputy Commissioner of Labor Galen Hollenbaugh, Budget Director Dan Villa, Representative Jenny Eck, and Senator Jon Sesso.
A highlight of the Convention was an address by Tefere Gebre. Tefere Gebre is the Executive Vice President of the AFL-CIO, and in 2013 became the first immigrant, political refugee, black man, and local labor council leader elected as a national officer of the AFL-CIO. His address was a powerful call for Labor to organize and engage at every level.
The 61st Convention also included a panel discussion on the Montana Labor Movement’s recent organizing successes. The panel featured Robin Haux, MNA; Bob Brock, IBEW; Jacquie Helt, SEIU; and Morgan Smith, MEA-MFT. MNA, IBEW, SEIU, and MEA-MFT have all had big recent organizing victories across the state.
During the Convention, Executive Secretary Al Ekblab, President Tammy Pilcher, and Vice-Prsident Treasurer Quint Nyman were all re-elected unanimously. As were Board Members Craig Davis, Jacquie Helt, Seth Bergan, Dave Van Son, Kim Rickard, Darrell Johnson, Amy Hauschild, and Brian Murphy.
The newest Montana AFL-CIO Board Members are Rich Aarstad (who also received this year’s Lifetime Service Award) and James Holbrook.
The 62nd Montana AFL-CIO Convention will be held in Helena in 2018.