In The News
New leaders charge up State AFL-CIO
“We believe the time is right to inspire a new generation to fight for justice and prosperity for all workers. Together we can turn a new page in the history of Wisconsin’s labor movement,”
With that clarion call to action at a Green Bay convention appropriately themed “Good Jobs Now!”, the Wisconsin AFL-CIO on Sept. 27 elected and inducted its new leaders: The man who gave the clarion call, Phil Neuenfeldt , and the woman replacing him as secretary-treasurer, Stephanie Bloomingdale.
Neuenfeldt had served 16 years as secretary-treasurer for the state AFL-CIO. He is also known for his role as legislative director, the voice of labor’s working family agenda, charging unions up to go on the offensive and win many battles – extending the ability to organize, protecting workers’ rights, installing prevailing wage protections, defending the Family and Medical Leave Act, teaching labor education in the schools, creating fairer tax codes to close corporate loopholes, preventing the outsourcing of public services, creating and retaining manufacturing jobs, and adopting green energy initiatives that will include family-wage jobs.
A veteran who served 14 years in various capacities for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, Neuenfeldt is highly regarded as one of labor’s most accomplished veteran leaders in Wisconsin.
Far fewer know that Bloomingdale has been active in labor causes for two decades, She started her union career at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee but is probably best known for her recent role as director of public policy for the Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals, AFT. A proud product of a working-class family, she also sits on the board of the Milwaukee Area Labor Council.
She and Neuenfeldt ran on a Solidarity Wisconsin Platform, which they further elaborated in discussions at Green Bay.
“Solidarity Wisconsin is the vehicle through which Wisconsin’s workers will build a bridge to a new era for organized labor in our state,” said Bloomingdale. “We are guided by the principle that each union is only as strong as our overall movement. We commit ourselves to this important work in the firm belief that working people must organize in order to be fairly paid for the work that we do.”
“Moving forward, we will honor the struggles of the union brothers and sisters who went before us, and recognize that their hard-won gains on behalf of the labor movement are under assault,” said Neuenfeldt. “We will stand together to mount an aggressive response to the challenges of the 21st century and bring justice and prosperity to Wisconsin’s working families.”
Other highlights of the convention were a speech by national AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and remarks by such AFL-CIO endorsed political candidates as Sen. Russ Feingold, Rep. Steve Kagen and gubernatorial candidate Tom Barrett.