Thursday, May 30, 2024
HomeHealthcareLifting Up Labor Leaders and Helping Students Soar

Lifting Up Labor Leaders and Helping Students Soar

The 75th annual business convention featured a presentation of both the Joseph H. Soifer and Unionist of the Year awards to activists selected from among those nominated by their peers. Jan Hochadel’s (third from left, in photo above) choice of recipient for the annual President’s Award was also honored.
 
Our 2022 Unionist of the Year is Marta Shepard (left, in photo), a special education paraeducator in Hartford Public Schools, local union executive vice president and labor activist. She was introduced by state federation vice president for Paraprofessionals and School-Related Personnel (PSRP) Shellye Davis, who credited her for inspiring colleagues to “become prouder, stronger and have their voices heard.”
 
Click here for a photo of Davis with Shepard and her award at the convention luncheon.
 
Monika Nugent (right, in photo), the Connecticut Judicial Selection Commission’s operations manager, local affiliate president and executive committee associate member representative, is our 2022 Soifer Award winner. In his introductory remarks, Organizing Director Eric Borlaug cited her success in bringing managerial and exempt state employees together and demonstrating that “collective action is what defines true unionism.”
 
Click here for a photo of Borlaug presenting Nugent with her award at the event.
 
For this year’s President’s Award, Hochadel chose Ivonne Hamm, RN, an electro-convulsive therapy registered nurse at UConn Health, local union first vice president and AFT Connecticut executive committee member. Vice president for Healthcare Bill Garrity, RN listed many examples of her activism in his presentation, saying the recognition honors a “lifetime commitment to the labor movement.” 
 
Click here for a photo of Garrity and Hochadel presenting Hamm’s award.
 
The recipients of a combined $7,500.00 in education grants were also announced during the convention luncheon. The winners were in late May notified of their selection after their applications were reviewed by AFT Connecticut’s Scholarship Committee:
 
George C. Springer Scholarship: Hartford Federation of Paraprofessionals member Christian Calle.
 
Sharon Palmer Scholarship: Meriden Federation of Teachers member Kim Burns’ daughter Camryn Burns.
 
AFT CT Scholarships: Newtown Federation of Teachers member Trent Harrison’s son Tyler Knight Harrison.
 
The application window is already open for the first of several educational grants available in 2023 to members of AFT Connecticut-affiliated locals. Union Plus is accepting applications for its program, which annually awards one-time grants ranging from $500.00 to $4,000.00 to over 150 labor households across the country.
 
Click here to learn more about the benefit and apply for scholarships in 2023.
 
Several additional awards were presented during the luncheon, including recognition of legislative and political activists, local union anniversaries and state federation staff tenure milestones.
 
Click here for the full “Awards” report presented to convention delegates at the event.
 
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