AFSCME Smooths Cross-Country Moves

Sam Blittman understands that the key to a cross-country move is to find those things that make you feel at home. That’s why joining a union was one of the first things he thought of as he moved to Anchorage, Alaska.

And it’s also the first thing he thought of as he made his most recent move – again cross country – to the Tallahassee, Florida, area.

“My father was in a strong union, so my whole life I’ve known the importance and value that having a strong union has in a successful career, as well as helping better the community,” said Blittman.

Blittman moved to Anchorage after a 27-year career with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Forensic Laboratory (ATF) in the San Francisco Bay area. By then he had been instrumental in ensuring that representation through the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) – available to ATF laboratory staff in Maryland – was extended to the ATF forensic chemists and labs in San Francisco and Atlanta.

When he arrived in Alaska, Blittman was pleased to find out that the powerful voice representing him there was AFSCME Local 52 (ASEA). “Local 52 members were always active and dedicated to helping fight unfair management practices,” he said. “The union constantly held meetings at local offices to inform members of their negotiated rights and proper procedures to defend oneself in labor misunderstandings.” 

Last month, Blittman and his wife moved to Tallahassee, where he is a Crime Laboratory Analyst for the Florida State Fire Marshal’s Bureau of Forensic Fire and Explosives Analysis laboratory. “There are certain procedures and protocols that have to be followed,” he said. “So, while challenges change, I get to see how diverse we are as a country and how much we are united in so many ways, at the same time.”

And one of the things that is uniting Blittman’s new job to his old one is AFSCME.

“On my first week at work I went to mandatory state employee orientation and I asked if I was a member of a labor union and, if so, who were they? I was told, ‘Yes I am, it’s AFSCME!”

Blittman is looking forward to finishing up his latest cross-country move as we start 2016 and also getting out to his first local meeting as one of the newest members of AFSCME Florida.