On Sat., Oct. 21, the PROTEC17 Regional Executive Committee (REC) — our union’s policy-making body — convened in-person at the Museum of Flight in Tukwila, WA to conduct the business of our union and to celebrate member-leaders. As part of the twice-yearly event, the fall REC meeting highlights our union’s accomplishments and victories for the year, and celebrates member-leaders with our annual leadership awards.
The meeting opened with a welcome by PROTEC17 President Rachael Brooks and a tribal land acknowledgement from Yvette Perrantes of the Duwamish Tribe. After hearing about new members who’ve recently joined our union through recent organizing efforts, the body approved the creation of a new Chapter for members at the City of Mount Vernon – a brand-new employer for our union. Delegates also heard a year-end budget review from Executive Board Secretary-Treasurer Mason Emrys.
The theme of this fall’s meeting was ‘Sky’s The Limit’ – a positive representation of the growth and direction of our union. Delegates heard a ‘state-of-the-union’ update from Executive Director Karen Estevenin that emphasized our successes in 2023, which marked the first year of our 2023-2025 Strategic Plan. As part of the plan, our three priorities include: creating a strong union identity and culture, building our political power and community connections, and strengthening member leadership programs and opportunities. Delegates were also able to provide additional input on many objectives for 2024 via flipcharts posted around the room which are being reviewed by the Strategic Planning Committee.
After a short break, delegates participated in an interactive training on the importance of welcoming new members to our union, where they shared tips and tricks with each other, and heard from fellow PROTEC17 leaders who are taking the lead on these initiatives in their workplaces.
For the past several years, the fall REC meeting has also included the presentation of awards that recognize members for their important contributions to building worker power. This year’s winners include: Brian Taubeneck (Organizer Extraordinaire, City of Seattle), Clarissa Thompson (For the People – Advocacy, King County), Rachel Freeman (Doesn’t Need Coffee -Activist, City of Seattle), Nick Keolker (Union Through and Through, King County), Laura Westervelt (Rising Star – New Leader, Kitsap Public Health), and Aaron Julyan (Building for Power, King County).
In addition, the first awardee of the Sean Simmons Award for Leadership Commitment went to Steve Morgans from the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), for his many years of service to his fellow members. This award was named in honor of long-time Executive Board member Sean Simmons last year after he received a much-deserved promotion. Finally, two retired PROTEC17 Stewards and member leaders from King County Public Health were honored with Gold Cards for their dedication to our union – Larry Brown and Todd Yerkes.
Congrats to all of our winners, and thank you to all of the REC delegates for all you do for our union!