Day on the Hill 2019: Making our voices heard

Day on the Hill gives AFSCME members an opportunity to learn about the legislative process, then use that knowledge to engange in meaningful conversations and build relationships with the people we elect to represent us at the Capitol. It’s a chance to come together as one and have a real impact on the decisions our elected officials make about our work and our lives. Remy Huerta-Stemper (Local 34) says talking to our legislators is a crucial part of making sure workers’ voices from all parts of the state get heard. “It’s important to participate and see the big picture,” Huerta-Stemper says.

Kenneth Garnier (Local 34) says that big picture is about the power of unions to lift up all workers. “We work together and live in the same neighborhoods,” he explains “Why not work with your coworkers to build a better life for everyone?”

AFSCME members fanned out across the Capitol campus and had face-to-face conversations with their legislators. They talked to them about the issues that impact working folks like us: safe staffing, respectful workplaces, our collective bargaining rights, keeping health care affordable and fixing our roads and bridges.

St. Louis County child welfare workers Patty Olson Feldt and Sandy Daniels-Milton, found themselves in the right place at the right time. They happened to be in the building when House File 2217, a bill to provide more grant funding for their work, was being heard in a committee hearing. Both Local 66 members were attending Day on the Hill for the first time, but they felt energized and empowered knowing they had the support of our union backing them up. “If there’s something we can do, as child welfare workers, it’s worth it. We’re part of their support system,” said Daniels-Milton. Olson Feldt agrees. “It was nerve-wracking, but it felt good. You could see it in their hearts.” The workers decided to put their work and values ahead of their nerves and joined Rep. Dave Pinto, who is also a member of AFSCME Local 8, in providing testimony in favor of the bill.

Sharyn Carringten (Local 2512) says building relationships with our legislators during Day on the Hill empowers members to continue their conversations, following with their representatives and senators and holding them accountable. “I really like the idea of being able to communicate with lawmakers when we come to Day on the Hill,” she says. “It makes it easier to start those relationships.” Those relationships with our fellow AFSCME members and with our legislators can have real, meaningful impact on our work, our lives, our families and our communities.