The Regional Executive Commitee (REC) – our union’s policy-making body – gathered at the Teamsters Hall in Tukwila, Wash. on Sat., Oct. 19 for their annual fall meeting.
The large auditorium was full of members conducting the business of our union. The twice-yearly event is not only productive, it allows delegates to connect with their fellow members from across the region and share ideas.
The agenda, under the theme ‘Future Forward,’ was packed, and included discussions about PROTEC17’s constitution, our mission statement, and our three-year strategic plan. Vice President Sean Simmons, in the acting President role, led the meeting with new PROTEC17 Secretary/Treasurer Jessica Garcia who discussed our financial health.
After a brief orientation to the REC, Executive Director Karen Estevenin opened her remarks by singing the classic union anthem ‘Which Side are You On?’ Her subsequent state of the union address focused on the tremendous work that both members and staff are doing to ensure that we reach out and welcome all new hires, and engage our current members with new and exciting initiatives.
Much of the meeting was a working session where delegates discussed, debated, and voted on motions involving revisions to our consitituion, mission statement, and organizational priorities.
In a first motion, REC delegates proposed to amend the constitution so that future revisions to our consitution can be voted on by electronic, versus paper, ballot. This was an important first step after the committee was formed at the March REC to work on this important project. Delegates on the constitution revision committee are: Marc Anderson, Rachael Brooks, Jake Jacobovitch, and Sean Simmons. PROTEC17 members can expect to hear more about this project in the new year, and will receive an initial paper ballot to cast their vote on the proposed amendment.
Next, the delegation discussed and voted on the final version of our organization’s mission statement, which is: “We are a member-powered union inspiring action, advancing equity, and building community.” PROTEC17 has never officially had a mission statement, and delegates were excited to play a part in defining who we are and what we strive to do in words.
In another working session, delegates broke out into small groups to discuss our organization’s three proposed priorities under our Strategic Plan for 2020-22. Both the mission statement and these priorities came about after gathering input from members via surveys, focus groups and other discussions about what they wanted to see in their union. These are important pieces that will serve to guide our decision-making and shape our union in the years to come. (Read more on p. 5).
In a new segment of the REC, four delegates received our new union activist awards, honoring how they go above and beyond to support their fellow members. This year’s winners are: Nick CastroLang (Spokane Regional Health District), Jennell Hicks (King County), Daniel Jones (WSDOT), and Mary O’Leary (Snohomish Health District).
During lunch, delegates heard from some of the candidates running for Executive Board President: Rachael Brooks, Jake Jacobovitch and Daniel Jones (read more on p. 4). Candidate Darren Wilson was in attendance before the REC meeting to campaign, but was unable to stay due to another obligation.
Finally, after the meeting officially concluded, an optional training on our new politcal action program took place with over 20 delegates in attendance. Members left equipped with the knowledge about why politics are important and how to talk to their fellow members about issues in a non-devisive way by relating them to our shared values. They also learned about upcoming involvement opportunities, such as participating on member-focused endorsement committees, which will increase in 2020 before election season.