A powerful advocate for working people and retirees on the nation’s largest public-pension fund now has an even stronger voice.

In mid-January, AFSCME member Priya Mathur was elected president of the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) Board of Administration, becoming the first woman to hold that post. The $350 billion pension fund serves more than 1.8 million people.

Seeking new ways to build and strengthen our union, Council 57 members from throughout the state came together in January for the second installment of the Local Union Leadership Academy (LULA).

The first LULA training took place in late 2017 and served as a proactive way for union members to get reenergized, learn AFSCME leadership fundamentals and take back those lessons to their locals and chapters. The most recent training served as a follow-up.

AFSCME members recently joined members of SEIU and IFPTE to help get a bill passed in California that will make it more fair and equitable for court reporters to electronically file transcripts of court proceedings.

Council 57 and a number of our locals gave the gift of solidarity this holiday season by supporting the successful two-month strike organized by machinists at Henkels Bay Point.

As a result of the strike, 80 machinists at Henkel Bay Point will be able to return to work. In addition to AFSCME members, labor and other community organizations poured out their generosity.

Henkel’s workers, who manufacture industrial glue and adhesive products for the aerospace industry, staged an Unfair Labor Practice strike beginning October 16 over health and safety concerns.

Nearly 600 medical workers in Truckee opted to join AFSCME Council 57, a victory that will strengthen their efforts to improve the services they provide to their communities.

By affiliating with the nation’s largest public service union on November 16, workers at Tahoe Forest Hospital in Truckee will have better resources and a stronger, unified voice. The workers were approached by two other labor unions but chose AFSCME due to the union’s record of service to public employees.

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Capital & Main.

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on the AFSCME Now blog.

Through AFSCME, public service workers build the power in numbers they need to make progress for their jobs, their families and the communities they serve. The achievements of AFSCME members this year in the nation’s largest state – California – underscore what working people can do when they have the freedom to stand together through strong unions.

East Bay Regional Parks lifeguards are trained to protect people as they enjoy their summers at the beaches, swimming pools and lagoons throughout the region.

Once those recreation areas are closed for the day, no one expects those lifeguards to keep on working, especially when they’re not at the swimming areas they monitor.