Florida Training Inspires New Activists

Elsa Lina Clark has only been an AFSCME member for a month, but she’s already AFSCME Strong.

Clark, an electronic document technician for the Miami-Dade County Regulatory and Economic Resources, joined the union after the union stepped in to help a friend and coworker who was being mistreated by a supervisor.

“The union functions well,” says Clark, who is a member of AFSCME Local 199, Council 979.

She participated in the AFSCME Strong activist training held in Miami on the first Saturday of October, and is now meeting one-on-one with a trainer to perfect her conversation skills. Clark says she’s motivated to spread the word about the importance of standing strong and is perfecting her skills so she can educate others about the union.

“There’s so many reasons why everybody should be in the union,” she says.

Grisela Argenal, a lab technician for the Miami-Dade County Regulatory and Economic Resources, has been an AFSCME member of Local 199 for about a year.

The training, she says, gave her more confidence in how to approach her coworkers to talk about the union.

“I learned how to talk to people and what the union is about and how I can help my coworkers with their different situations,” she says.

Argenal says she believes a lot of people don’t join because they have fears and misconceptions.

“One reason I got more active is to help my coworkers,” she says, “to try to encourage them for them to be heard. That’s the part I like the most.”

The activist training in Miami brought together 65 AFSCME members from seven locals. Some who participated will go back to their own locals and implement the training there.