At the Twenty-Second Convention of the AFL-CIO Retiree Council on September 20, awards were presented to the following union leaders:
George Colby Award recognizing service over years: to Retiree Council Treasurer Russ Thornell for his leadership as Treasurer, his prior service including years as a Board member and producer of the Voices of Experience community cable TV show and years as a union and political activist in the Laborers Union and Retiree Council.
Retiree Council Award for service to retirees: to Jeff Birttnen, President of AFSCME Chapter 5 Retirees United and recently elected president of the national AFSCME Retirees organization, for his leadership in the creation and growth of Minnesota AFSCME Chapter 5.
Bob Bonacorda Community Service Award to Ross Olson of the Machinists for creating the HELPS program (Honoring, Engaging, Lifting, Providing and Servicing) of IAM District Lodge 77. The first effort was held in 2017 with Family Wise, the second in 2018 with Community Emergency Services. IAM 77 members use their unique skills to perform needed projects such as clean-up, remodeling, etc. for community service organizations.
Tom Dwyer Political Service Award to:
- Kera Peterson, Political Director/Campaign Manager for the St. Paul Regional Labor Federation, who for ten years has been organizing the RLFs phone banks, door knocks, grass roots lobbying and political campaign support and working with unions of the RLF to deliver excellent results in political efforts.
- Save Our Pensions for their leadership in the fight to secure pensions for retirees of the Teamsters Minnesota Central States Pension Fund. Their educational and action efforts have now extended to push for improvements beyond the Teamsters Fund and they are prime lobbyists for passage of the Butch Lewis Act in the US Congress.
Martha Johnson Communications Award to Michael Moore, who since 2006 has been editor of the Union Advocate, the newspaper of the St. Paul Regional Labor Federation which is both an on-line and US mail publication, mailed to 30,000 recipients. The Advocate has received numerous awards from the International Labor Communications Association for its excellent work and provides current labor information to our union and larger community.
SPECIAL THANKS TO CONVENTION COMMITTEE CHAIR LOIS WENDT AND HER CONVENTION COMMITTEES FOR ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL CONVENTION. Committees include Awards; Resolutions; Nominations; Credentials; Rules & Bylaws; Set Up and Clean Up; Planning; Credential Mailing and Convention Packet Assembly.