“I am truly humbled by the opportunity to lead my fellow union members,” said new AFT Connecticut President Jan Hochadel. “Our movement is at a crossroads and it’s an extraordinary time to serve in this role. I believe that if we continue to demonstrate solution-driven unionism, we can make the lives of all working families better,” said Hochadel.
Hochadel’s comments refer to the unprecedented assault on the workplace rights of Americans since the economic downturn of 2008. AFT Connecticut has responded to the crisis with a comprehensive and collaborative approach to engaging employers, businesses, community organizations, labor unions and political leaders to achieve common goals.
During that time, Hochadel has served as president of the affiliated State Vocational Federation of Teachers, which represents educators and support personnel in the Connecticut State Technical High School System (CTHSS). In addition to her union leadership roles, Hochadel has a deep background in education and public service. She taught science at both J.M. Wright Technical High School in Stamford, where she was the 2006-2007 teacher of the year, and Kaynor Technical High School in Waterbury.
“We may face significant challenges, but I’m excited about our future as a federation and a movement,” said new Executive Vice President John Brady. “We’ve embraced the principle that ‘community is our new density.’ Our union members get that we are stronger when when we organize more than just our workplaces,” said Brady.
Brady’s comments refer to AFT Connecticut’s community engagement efforts which over the past four years have resulted in a number of significant victories for working families. Brady served as the president of the Backus Federation of Nurses, the local affiliated union he and fellow caregivers organized at the William W. Backus Hospital in Norwich in 2011.
“I congratulate our new leadership team and look forward to serving alongside them,” said AFT Connecticut First Vice President Jean Morningstar, who was re-elected to a second term. “I am confident that working with the membership we can fulfill the vision of ‘AFT Connecticut Rising,'” said Morningstar.
Morningstar’s comments refer to the annual convention’s theme, chosen as a reflection of the federation’s recent efforts to unite with natural allies on a variety of public policy issues. Delegates at the event heard a brief report-back on the success last year of the Hartford Rising! coalition to win city officials’ support for a “Community Bill of Rights.”
“Union leadership is tough work but we are up for the task ahead,” said AFT Connecticut Secretary-Treasurer Ed Leavy, who was also re-elected to his post. “The great labor leader César Chávez said, ‘if a leader cannot give it all. he cannot expect his people to give anything.’ I know this team is ready follow his example,” said Leavy.
Both Brady and Morningstar’s titles reflect changes to AFT Connecticut’s Constitution & Bylaws approved in May by convention delegates. Elections were also held for the remaining 22 vice president positions that comprise the federation’s Executive Committee and their two year terms also begin today.
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AFT Connecticut represents approximately 30,000 hard-working women and men in PreK-12 education, healthcare, public service and higher education from more than 90 local unions throughout the state. For more information, visit www.aftct.org or follow the labor federation on Twitter at @AFTCT and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aftct.