MAPE leaders, staff hone skills at renowned labor conference

Publish Date

The 2022 Labor Notes Conference was one for the books, breaking all previous records with 4,000 participants, including 20 MAPE members and a few staff, at the three-day, interactive gathering of grassroots union activists that included training on topics like inclusive bargaining, effective meeting facilitation, Contract Action Teams, how to run an effective contract campaign, how to avoid problematic “managerial rights” issues and others. 

Labor Notes Conference Room

“The best part of Labor Notes for me was the team building,” said MAPE Statewide Vice President Angie Halseth. “My favorite parts were the workshops that focused on leadership development. As we move into the future of MAPE we should be strategic about continually developing new leaders.”

Region 4 Negotiations Representative Thu Phan said hearing from international organizers about the organizing struggles in other countries was an “eye-opening experience.”

Labor Notes MAPE members and staff

“Organizers shared stories of when they received death threats from government officials, police officers, and military officers. Some of their union brothers and sisters are in prison, while some are hiding out in other countries after their activism,” Phan said. “It makes me appreciate the work that our fellow member leaders and business agents do to preserve and protect our MAPE Contract. 

Organizing is a fragile thing like our democracy. It is not a right but it is a privilege. We must continue to fight to make organizing a right for all.”

Maureen Dunaway, Region 5 Negotiations Representative, said she, too, learned much from the variety of workshops. She plans to bring some initiatives and tips back to her work on the Negotiations Team and as chair of her agency’s Meet and Confer Team.

“It was energizing to be with so many other people working on similar issues in very different environments,” she said. “The solidarity was extraordinary and made me realize there are so many more people who are our allies than I realized.”

Recently re-elected as MAPE’s Negotiations Team co-chair, Adam Novotny said the Labor Notes conference left him feeling energized as the team begins planning for bargaining MAPE’s next contract.

“It is impossible not to walk away from the conference energized about where the labor movement is headed after hearing from teachers, auto workers, Starbucks employees and folks from the Amazon Labor union,” Novotny said. “It was beneficial to attend this conference with a handful of fellow negotiators so that we could get to know each other, strategize together and begin the process of building a formidable team. 

“I look forward to bringing some of the ideas and strategies back and working to build MAPE from the local level up through the statewide level.”