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Home > Election results for AFSCME convention > UDW at the convention

UDW members, staff, and delegates want to thank AFSCME
for their hospitality, and for assuming the costs
of our delegates housing while in Chicago.

The following Elected UDW Delegates attended the 2006 AFSCME International Convention in Chicago:

Editha Adams; Shirley Adams; Gerald Ashby; Gale Banuelos; Sandra Bartlett; Mike Bocancea; Kathleen Brennan; Denise Brown; James Butler; Colleen Campbell; Saundra Campbell; Alice Dolida; Annette Dorsey; Feel Goode; Willie Green; Gustavo Gutierrez; Monica Johnson; Tanya Kelly; Gloria King; Chris Long; Rudy Lopez; Clara McDonald; Ernesto Mendiburu; Christine Nguyen; Laura Reyes; John Stevenson; Ngoc Hoa Thai Tran; Pat Ward; Virginia Wilson; Cecilia York; Carrie Young.

Photo, Feel Good

UDW Delegates on the convention floor.

The AFSCME Convention;
a true 21st century forum

Delegates at the AFSCME convention voted on resolutions that will literally shape the future of our union.

Faced with a “newfound audacity from anti-union business leaders and the politicians they bankroll,” AFSCME President Gerald W. McEntee said that our union is poised to enact the 21st Century Initiative, a top-to-bottom strategic overhaul of AFSCME and a bold, new plan for change.

The "Green Machine" in action:

"I speak for my fellow employees when I say that it warmed our hearts to see all our AFSCME brothers and sisters out there supporting us in our struggle to form a union with AFSCME Council 31."
-- Shirley Brown, employee in  one of the eight hospitals in the Resurrection Health Care chain

Photo, Feel Good

of AFSCME members - including UDW delegates - stood together in solidarity for workers
at Resurrection Health Care chain.

Town Hall Meeting -- Our Voices, Our Future!
How every voice can be heard; every member included; every idea counted.

Photo, Jim West
AFSCME Convention Floor, with 400 tables linked to computers and broadcast to large screens for voting and polling results.
See results of the session  (pdf file)
Photo, Jim West

This forum was so revolutionary, it kept members engaged and excited for seven hours straight!


UDW staff Lin Chrivia, Gary Voice, Jovan Agee , and Rhonda Walker, assisted AFSCME to facilitate this ground-breaking event.
During the session - a 21st century Town Hall meeting - computer linking allowed every delegate on the floor (4000 plus) to input their ideas and opinions which were then displayed on huge screens throughout the room.
Delegates were then polled and the entire delegation could simultaneously "brain-storm" ideas for the union.

UDW Facilitator Rhonda Walker remarked on how the Town Hall Meeting kept everyone's attention:

"...I wondered if we would be capable of retaining the interest of our fellow members for most of the day.  Everyone from various locals, states and positions showed great interest and appreciation. The meeting was conducted with a lot of enthusiasm that flowed throughout the room. We are all looking forward to the next town hall meeting." 

Jovan Agee, UDW's political director in Sacramento as well as a facilitator at this event also stressed the innovativeness of the Town Hall venue:

"The Town Hall meeting was a great idea. It allowed union members' voices to be heard and provided union leadership with information that is important if we want to continue to be successful."

Many UDW delegates also talked about the Town Hall Meeting as the most impactful event of the convention see below

UDW Delegate Cecilia York Speaks on AFSCME Resolution:

"I am a Volunteer Member Organizer – I rise in support of this resolution. There is a Chinese saying that literally translates as 'the aim is useless without a way' Our aim is to increase membership, expand and promote the labor movement. Our 'way' is through organizing. In Aug 2005 UDW organized and signed over 5000 new members. Some of these Volunteer Member Organizers are here today. I would like to acknowledge their presence and ask the UDW delegation to please stand – Thank You!.. Brothers and Sisters – please do not hesitate to support this resolution because organizing is an important component of our union."

Photo, Jim West

UDW Delegate Cecilia York speaking on the convention floor for a resolution to facilitate union organizing.

UDW Delegates in Chicago

Following are some of the delegates (and UDW staff) experiences and impressions of this historic event which will shape the future of AFSCME as well as UDW in the 21st Century:

Editha AdamsEditha Adams
San Diego

"I want to thank all the members for your support and for your faith in me to be your delegate. I was proud and honored. - Being a member of UDW I have been fortunate to see it grow and be a part of that process. We are growing and we are not alone. During my visit at the convention I was overwhelmed with the Unity across the country. The strength of becoming one in the same fight. It was awesome to sit down with so many sharing the same hopes and dreams. We are UNITED."


Shirley Adams.
Shirley Adams

“I was inspired by listening to Hilary Clinton speak at the convention. I believe she would make a very good president and I feel all UDW and AFSCME members need to think real hard about how the present administration is treating our working and middle class when they vote in 2008.”



Gerald Ashby

" The AFSCME convention gave me chance to look at how are our union works. Specifically I learned how to do collective bargaining for higher wages, good health and medical benefits and pension plans for the union members. The convention showed how to bring solidarity to union members – both with UDW and AFSCME – how to work together.

The Town Hall meeting was a great experience. As I understood, it was the largest Town Hall Meeting of that nature in the history of the United States . Throughout the convention we learned how to vote on issues, resolutions, and amendments that are important to our union. I thought the Town Hall meeting was a great example of that democratic process.

I felt Gerald McEntee and William Lucy to be outstanding leaders because they instilled confidence in to the union membership and focused on truly relevant issues.

I so enjoyed being a delegate and representing UDW. I want to say thank you very much to all the members who elected me as a delegate. I’ll do my very best to be a good union member, and if possible to continue this work and participate in the next convention two years from now. I would like to focus on doing work for UDW and making this a bigger, better, and stronger union. "
-- Gerald Ashby

"There were so many people from all walks of life coming together and agreeing! This is the first time I actually saw such a vast number supporting the rights of home care workers – rights that are so fundamental there should be no question about them at all. There were people from all over the nation, working together, to build solidarity. One event was a rally for the hospital workers from Resurrection Hospital . I was so impressed by the speech from a priest who talked to us about the workers difficulties – they couldn’t even organize a union because the management fought against it and many people who worked in the hospital had medical coverage that was so expensive they couldn't’t afford to keep their children covered. There were thousands of us in the streets – raising our voices, picketing, even dancing, in support of our fellow workers from this hospital! "
-- Sandra Bartlett, Kern

Kathleen Brennan


"I’m really thankful for the chance to represent UDW at this convention. The delegates all came together so well to do our job and we formed a truly cohesive group. I would like to see IHSS become a federal program so that the disabled and elderly can get these essential services in every state. In California we are a model for other states."
-- Kathleen Brennan



“I think the Town Hall Meeting was very informative, I liked the round table discussions – all the ideas that can be shared and brought up in this format. Issues can be gone over by Mr. Sweeny and his staff for the enhancement and growth of the union. These ideas can then be addressed in all future delegate conventions.”
-- Saundra Campbell, San Diego

Alice Dolida
"My experience at the AFSCME 2006 national convention was one of great enthusiasm for our members.  The ideals of this union were high, and very precise; to fit the needs of American working people.  Where government is dissipating - we are emancipating!  The future we hold in our hands can greatly benefit the working families of America.  I see a great slogan of the past come to focus 'We the people, by the people, for the people!'  is once again coming alive.  Solidarity was affirmed for this working class of citizens wanting a better America; to focus on this struggle for the American Dream as it seems to slip away from us.  We need our recognition and are willing to stand up and take our place. It is our government and they are working for us.  Wake up America!
-- Alice Dolida, Santa Barbara

Feel Good and Bill LucyLeft UDW Delegate Feel Good, with AFSCME Secretary-Treasurer Bill Lucy at rally held to show support for the hospital workers of Resurrection Hospital

"This was my first national convention, and oh boy, was it informative! There were representatives from all 51 states. I met people from every state except Alaska
The convention was a history making event in several ways. First, the 21st Century Initiative was voted in, which will create a political college to train our future leaders in organizing, politics, and campaigning, Secondly, A NATIONAL HEALTH CARE FOR ALL CHILDREN proposal was passed, which means every child in America will have FREE health care. (I am proudest to have voted on that) The 3rd was It was the site of the Biggest Town Hall meeting ever held. The Town Hall meeting was the greatest thing I participated in. WE got to voice our opinions and discuss everything at the table. Every table had 8 to 10 people with no two people who knew each other at the same table or two from the same state. I was very pleased that we all were thinking alike.
There was also a rally held to show support for the hospital workers of Resurrection Hospital who have been on strike for 4 years now. The number of people who showed up was great, It looked like a sea of green with picket signs floating in it. That was truly Beautiful to see so much support, and AFSCME pledged $1,000,000.00 per year in support until it is resolved.
I think the conference was a huge success, and members will be hearing about the things that are going to change this country for the working class. I am proud to represent the U.D.W."
-- Feel Good, Santa Barbara

"This union has helped me, and I feel a genuine obligation to give something back in return. I want to thank all those who voted, for trusting me with this responsibility. I am particularly proud to help represent the Hispanic community within UDW. 
I feel our number one commitment should be to building our communication with our members. We need to let our providers know about all the resources that are available in our union. At the convention all the delegates worked together both locally and nationally on building a more powerful network. Afterwards there was a strong feeling of unity and power!"
-- Gloria King, San Diego

Gloria King

Chris LongChris Long, Riverside
“Union brothers and sisters”
I’ve heard the words, many many times, but actually being with and feeling the support and warmth of so many brothers and sisters I never knew I had, was an experience that has changed my life.
The town hall meeting;
A "first ever" and another life changing experience;
...four thousand union member delegates, at four hundred tables each table with a laptop computer and the laptops wired to a central information processing team.
The team sorted our input into ten categories and displayed these categories on big screens on the walls around the convention hall. Our ideas suggestions and strategies were then voted on with the same kind of electronic input devices they use for the TV show “who wants to be a millionaire” when they poll the audience. We could vote for our top three categories in terms of the ideas and solutions we thought were best. Immediately after we voted, the results were displayed on the big screens. Bar graphs showed the percentage of votes for each category. It was amazing that when we were not too well informed about an issue at our table there would be awesome ideas from other members in the hall.
The impression I got was that we were tapping into a four thousand member brain that was capable of amazing genius and power in problem solving.
I was proud that our leaders, after decades with the union, were so progressive in implementing the ultimate exercise in union democracy. Truly we set a great example in leadership for the American democratic process. I look forward to the next convention in the hope that this kind of technology will be used for the whole of the week long convention.
The AFSCME "ACE" -- 21st century computer center at the convention;
AFSCME has also built an enhanced membership data base that can be accessed with the use of a computer, an internet connection and a carefully protected password unique to each user. This data base has the potential to become an incredibly powerful tool in terms of serving members during political campaigns, membership drives and contract negotiations. The new data base, called ACE (AFSCME Campaign Engine) is being used in ten states and is coming to California soon.
My sense of this development is one of excitement and anticipation it strikes me as being an extension of the town hall meeting style, using technology that will give members a greater voice and more power in the unions decision making process.
AFSCME leadership
Last but not least, we have leaders at the top of AFSCME who do not mince words when they tell it like it is, about the gutting of Middle America in favor of tax breaks on the “unearned income” of the rich.
I am very proud to be part of this union, and the AFSCME conference was an AMAZING experience!

Rudy Lopez - Kern County

I felt this trip to Chicago was like a spiritual journey – one that I was destined to travel. I’ll tell you why – because knowledge is power and this convention was all about knowledge, all about power, and all about bringing those truths back to the people so they can live better lives. I deeply appreciate the trust that was given to me by all those that voted for me as their delegate. I will take that trust to heart. Everything I learned I will bring back to the members and their clients so I can help them recognize their rights and be empowered. Home care workers need recognition and respect for their work.  They need the confidence to stand up for their rights.  I am very blessed to have worked with members in Kern, in San Luis Obispo, in Orange, and in Riverside. I know that through spreading knowledge throughout this state – with every home care worker – we can develop a spiritual community of caring souls who help one another. That is what this work is about.

Clara McDonald

"This was a great learning opportunity – a real eye-opener on how an international union works. I never knew the enormous scope of national issues that AFSCME deals with. I was honored and proud to take part in amending the AFSCME constitution, which forms the basis of how our union is run. I also met many new people and friends in this union.  I want to thank all the people who voted for me. I am glad that I went as a UDW delegate and am very happy to represent them."
- - Clara McDonald

Christine Nguyen
"I want to thank members who voted for me to become a delegate at the AFSCME convention in Chicago. AFSCME has a strong voice for us all on the national level and that is very important. I learned a great deal and I hope that in the future I will be able to help many UDW home care workers with that knowledge. At UDW we focus on training and educating members, and our union listens to us. We discuss, research, and fight for our members. I was so proud to be with UDW at the convention. In Chicago every day I took a bus from the hotel to the convention center. It was a chance to meet with others and talk with them, which was so interesting. I hope UDW workers and their clients have more chances to get together and help each other in the future – that is important because we all need to support each other in what we do. When we met at the convention we all become united in one cause. AFSCME organized this event very well. Through the whole time at the convention I never felt tired or bored!
-- Christine Nguyen, Orange

Ly NguyenLy Nguyen - UDW Staff Translator, Orange County

"I enjoyed going to the convention and facilitating with translation for our Vietnamese delegates and members. I learned a great deal from this experience; how to motivate and connect home care workers with their union, and how to make the union stronger. Many of our delegates were attending an international convention for the first time. They were excited to learn about how UDW is supported by thousands of national AFSCME members and that makes us very powerful when we come together as one."

Ernesto Mandiburu

"The AFSCME convention was an inspiring and enlightening experience to be around not just other caregivers from United Domestic Workers from all around the state but also other people who care so much about the working class from around the country. I will remember the experiences, the people I met and the lessons it taught me forever."
-- Ernesto Mendiburu, San Diego

John Steveson
John Stevenson
San Diego
“I was proud of how our delegation came together - we all gained in maturity and activism during our experience in Chicago. It was very exciting to be with thousands of other union activists under one roof, to experience the process of how a national union works...At the next convention I'll aim to be up for placing better in the PEOPLE Fun Run!"

Ngoc Hoa Thai Tran "I was surprised and pleased by all the people who voted for me; I want to sincerely thank UDW and all the members who trusted me to be their delegate in Chicago . I know so much more about our national union now, and why we need our affiliation with AFSCME. I learned that national policy impacts home care workers and every one of us needs to be involved and to vote. I also understand more about how our dues are spent to serve members and to support elected officials who can help UDW members. When I got to the convention center I was amazed at how crowded it was and how many people are represented by our national union. It was the first time I have visited a big city in America . I listened to all the speakers; Senator Hillary Clinton and AFSCME president Gerald McEntee were particularly interesting. I learned a great deal from hearing these leaders and also from the convention workshops. I especially liked the Town Hall meeting on the last day – it showed us how our votes were meaningful. It was a way for the union to listen to the members; help them, and fight for them. I promise to bring everything I learned back to the members of UDW and to help them. I want UDW to be bigger and stronger. Thank you for letting me represent you!"
-- Ngoc Hoa Thai Tran, Orange

"This was my first convention as a delegate. It was an honor to be elected as one of the 39 UDW delegates. Much effort went into this convention by AFSCME; the information, books and supplies, etc, every thing put into a nice package for the thousands of people who attended. I learned a lot about Unions and the people who are dedicated to preserving Unions in this country. As a member of UDW, I look forward to working with other members to improve our union and implement ideas learned at the Convention. Lets move UDW into the 21st Century!"
-- Patricia Ward, San Diego

Patricia Ward

Cecilia York
Cecilia York

"This was a wonderful convention -- it got my adrenaline flowing again! It is the camaraderie of AFSCME as a whole and was an experience that no one should miss. UDW members are still in an uphill battle for a decent living wage. If we get health insurance that’s great – but we must set aside our personal differences and agendas and work towards these common goals. As one union together, we can do it."

Cecilia spoke on the floor of the convention, in favor of resolution #44



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