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Swearing-In Leaders Committed to a Union that’s “Still Growing”

“I so appreciate the trust and confidence of our members,” said Jan Hochadel, who in mid May was re-elected to a third two-year term as AFT Connecticut president. “Delegates to our convention understood that while we’ve made some real gains over the past four years, what we need is to continue that progress. Our leadership team has already expanded the possibilities of what we can accomplish locally, across the nation — and even globally,” added Hochadel.
 
Hochadel’s comments refer to new labor and community engagement roles she has taken on since our state federation’s 72nd annual convention. Delegates to Public Services International’s (PSI)’s 12th Interamerican Regional Conference (IAMRECON) last month chose her to co-chair the global trade union federation’s committee for the Western Hemisphere. Hochadel at the four-day event spoke directly to our work in Connecticut to advance tax fairness and gender equity, issues of particular importance to public employees worldwide. 
 
Click here to watch Hochadel address the delegates to IAMRECON.
 
The Lamont Administration this past week tapped her for the board of directors of the newly established Partnership for Connecticut, which will oversee earmarked public education investments. Hochadel joined state and local union leaders for the project’s early April launch in East Hartford where Dalio Philanthropies pledged $100 million in resources to the effort.
 
Click here for Hochadel’s biography, updated to reflect her recent leadership roles.
 
“Our track record shows we’re committed to the theme of this year’s convention; ‘still here and still growing,'” said John Brady, RN, who was also re-elected as vice president. “We have weathered some rough storms and actually thrived in the face of ongoing attacks. We must stay focused on building a stronger federation for the challenges that lie ahead,” added Brady, whose title is updated by a constitutional amendment adopted at our 2017 convention.
 
Brady’s comments refer to the number of working people organized into new and established local affiliates over the past four years, despite escalating attempts by special interests to destabilize unions. Corporate-backed lawsuits designed to weaken collective bargaining rights culminated in the Janus vs. AFSCME, Council 31 ruling last summer, which targeted public employees’ collective bargaining rights. 
 
AFT Connecticut, with the help of labor and community allies, defied the predictions of political pundits and has grown by approximately 1,000 new members over this period. Brady has played active roles in many of the campaigns that both united previous non-members and extended representation to working people without a voice on the job.
 
Click here for more on Brady’s healthcare and labor leadership background.
 
Ed Leavy, our state federation’s long-serving secretary-treasurer, chose not to seek a fourth term, running instead for an open position as jurisdictional VP for public employees. Convention delegates elected David Hayes, who just wrapped up nine years serving as the president of our affiliated Bristol Federation of Teachers, as AFT Connecticut’s chief fiscal officer.
 
“I’m excited to take on this new leadership role,” said Hayes, who teaches 5th grade at Edgewood School in Bristol, the district where he has worked for 19 years. “Ed’s shoes won’t be easy to fill, and I am grateful for his guidance over these past few months to help me prepare for the challenge. As a labor federation, we are all fortunate to have such a dedicated unionist remaining part of our executive committee,” added Hayes.
 
Click here for Brady’s recent blog post thanking Leavy and welcoming Hayes.
 
While tending to AFT Connecticut’s finances will be his first priority, Hayes plans to stay engaged in coordinated efforts to address the impact of disruptive classroom behavior. He began last fall representing our federation on both the state education department’s Connecticut School Discipline Collaborative as well as the legislature’s Classroom Safety Working Group. 
 
In testimony to the General Assembly’s Education Committee in February, Hayes told lawmakers, that too many administrators “have been negligent in maintaining a safe classroom environment.” He urged support for legislation that he and his colleagues on the working group helped craft that would “begin to shine a light on all that.”
 
Click here to learn more about Hayes’ public education career and union leadership experience.
 
Officers and members of the executive committee who began serving two year terms July 1 were last Thursday sworn in to their offices by Connecticut AFL-CIO President Sal Luciano. The jurisdictional VP for nurses and health professionals that evening resigned her post and the vacancy will early next month be filled by presidential appointment.
 
Click here for the updated executive committee list.
 
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