APRIL BRINGS MORE CHANGES THAN THE WEATHER4/2/2018 April marks a big transition for the Community Services Agency, with long-time Executive Director Kathleen McKirchy retiring, and Sonté DuCote taking the reins. DuCote, who has been serving as CSA’s Assistant ED since October 2017, brings not only a union background, but organizational development, strategic planning, community partnership work and worker job training experience to the table. She has worked with 1199 SEIU in New York City, where she facilitated labor-management training committees and organized the New York Union Child Care Coalition, which won millions from the NY State Legislature and continues today to help working people access child care subsidies and apply for those subsidies at union halls and child care centers. Then at AFSCME headquarters, DuCote facilitated strategic planning and leadership training as well as managed its member benefits program. "Sonté is well-positioned to take CSA to new heights, advancing workers’ interests and ensuring that their social services needs are taken care", said McKirchy. "I'm looking forward to collaborating with the metro Washington labor community to see how we can work to address more of our union members' needs,” said DuCote. “I’d love an opportunity to meet with leadership of local union affiliates across the region." Reach her at 202 974-8226, firstname.lastname@example.org. McKirchy’s personal contact info is: email@example.com, cell: 202 262-0773.
photo: (l-r) DuCote with CSA Board of Trustees President Jackie Jeter and board member Ann Hoffman; photo by Kathleen McKirchy
Stepping it up for CSA's Holiday Basket Program Staff and OPEIU Local 2 members at AFGE and IBEW really stepped up their efforts this year to help local needy families during the Community Services Agency's Holiday Basket Project. "This is really terrific and helps CSA promote the Holiday Basket Project and our other programs," said a grateful Sonte' DuCote, CSA's Assistant Executive Director. The AFGE/OPEIU 2 efforts raised over $4,000 in funds, gifts and gift cards for their two adopted families, and also included a brief video about the program. The IBEW activities included adopting a family which has faced long-term job loss, and collected over $400 worth of food, funds, toys and other presents and gift cards. "We love working with CSA on this project, and we challenge more national unions to run United Way campaigns as well participate in CSA’s Holiday Basket Project next year!" said IBEW's Rachel Bryan. The IBEW raised over $53,660 for United Way this year.
Learning the building trades, one brick at a time: Finishing up their fourth week of the six-week training program, Building Futures trainees learned brick laying and masonry last week from Paul Ferenc, apprenticeship and training coordinator of the Bricklayers and Allied Craftsworkers Local 1. Trowels at the ready, the students got hands-on experience that added one more skill to ready them for a career in the building and construction trades. “Bricklaying and masonry, like any building and construction skill, is part of the foundation of stable employment in this industry,” said Ferenc. “Modern day construction requires top skills, discipline and commitment and we give Building Futures students a solid introduction.” Building Futures is a program of the Community Services Agency (CSA) of the Metro Washington Council. The program provides training and support for disadvantaged DC residents seeking union careers in the building and construction trades. “Thanks to our union training partners at the Bricklayers and Masons, and many others, Building Futures not only opens doors to real careers, it helps promote a wider understanding of what the labor movement does every day to make our communities stronger, ” said Sylvia Casaro-Dietert, who coordinates the program for CSA. June 1, Union Cities, the daily e-newsletter of the Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO
Building Futures Graduates Celebrate Fresh Opportunities Summer Program Recruitment Starts Now Fourteen Building Futures students graduated from their six week intensive pre-apprenticeship program last Monday, June 12, in what was for many students and their families, an emotional journey leading to fresh opportunities in region’s construction industry. The ceremony included dozens of family members as well as instructors and mentors from Operative Plasterers and Cement Masons Local 891 and Community Services Agency staff.
“I was once just a number,” said Marcelus Turner, citing his time in prison. “Now I am a new man with new opportunities and a chance to build something with my life.”
Like Turner, Building Futures graduates have overcome personal, economic and professional obstacles that have kept them out of productive career pathways. Over the course of the training, Building Futures staff work with students individually to remove or at least limit these obstacles while students learn essential construction industry skills.
The Building Futures program recruits DC residents who are disadvantaged by low income, criminal history and other obstacles to employment. The pre-apprenticeship training combines hands on construction skills training, with construction math, blue print reading, resume-writing and interviewing skills, on the job relationship building and time management, orientation to the construction industry and apprenticeship. The students are very lucky to have access to hands-on experiences at several union apprenticeship programs in the area, and CSA is gratified for the support it receives from the trades.
Building Futures is a program of the Community Services Agency of the Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO. Interested in applying? Recruitment starts now for the summer program beginning July 31st. Applications are due July 18th. Click HERE to download the Building Futures flyer.
11th Annual Labor Night at the Nats Photo Gallery Sunday, July 31, 2017
Rain delay doesn't dampen annual Night at Nats Tuesday, August 2, 2017 Nearly 7,000 union members and their families cheered on the Nats Sunday night at the 11th annual Labor Night at the Nats, which had been rescheduled after Friday's flash flooding and downpours. The evening’s program included joining the managers for the lineup exchange with ATU Local 689 Secretary-Treasurer Esker Bilger, whose local purchased 500 tickets for members and staff. Community Services Agency (CSA) Board of Trustees member Dan Duncan threw the first pitch in the strike zone. It was Duncan's idea to start this event as a fundraiser for CSA’s Emergency Assistance Fund sponsored by the Metro Washington Council AFL-CIO and the NoVA Labor Federation, and Duncan was honored for his longtime support and congratulated on his retirement as President of NoVA Labor (photo). Eight-year-old Hayden Dijol, whose mom is a staffer at Iron Workers Local 5 -- which also purchased 500 tickets -- flawlessly announced to the stadium of labor fans, “It’s time for Nationals Baseball. Play ball!” To cap off the evening, the Nats beat the Colorado Rockies, 3-1. Anyone who purchased tickets and was not able to attend the rescheduled game may exchange their tickets for another home game but only at the Nats box office. The Nats have extended the time for making exchanges. Next up: 22nd Annual CSA Golf Tournament, set for Monday, September 25. Click here for info and the registration form. photo: CSA Executive Director Kathleen McKirchy (center) presents plaque of appreciation to Dan Duncan; Dan’s wife Karen is at left - report/photo by Matt Losak
Attendance at Labor Events Surge; Nats Tickets Still on Sale!
Riding a wave of solidarity, labor events are attracting participation numbers not seen in some time. This year’s LaborFest saw record turnout at dozens of events including a standing room only crowd for the AFI screening of Matewan with a live appearance from John Sales, its famed director. And Labor Heritage Foundation Executive Director Elise Bryant reports overfill registration for its 2017 Great Labor Arts Exchange—a conference, training and celebration of artists and musicians whose work strengthens the Labor Movement. “No surprise, then, that Labor Night at the Nats is seeing a surge in early tickets sales—perhaps it biggest in its 11 year history,” says Kathleen McKirchy, executive director of the Community Service Agency of the Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO (CSA). Nearly 6,000 tickets have already been sold for labor families expecting to enjoy a cold one or two at the Friday evening, July 28 game. “I think there’s a lot of feeling out there that it’s time to come together and remind each other that we are a community not just of workers, but as friends, neighbors, brother and sisters and caring citizens.” Labor Night at the Nats is one of three family-oriented sporting events organized by CSA each year. Proceeds from these events go to support CSA’s Emergency Assistance Fund which provides area union members with critical financial support in times of need. Tickets for Labor Night at the Nats may be purchased individually or by group. Groups that purchase 50 tickets or more receive scoreboard recognition and raffle entry to win an autographed Nats baseball. Download CSA’s flyer HERE, or call 202-974-8221. Photo: 2009, Chris Garlock
Hunger Doesn’t Go on Vacation During the Summer Access to food continues to be a problem for working families- not just at holiday time- but all through the year. And summer can be tough when kids are out of school and school lunches and snacks disappear. Thanks to the area labor family, CSA and the Capital Area Food Bank have been the beneficiaries of some recent union food drives. Robert Williams, President of NALC Branch 142, reports that their branch collected 69,619 pounds of food during the Annual Letter Carriers “Stamp Out Hunger” Food Drive conducted the Saturday before Mother’s Day in May, and this was donated to the Capital Area Food Bank, which provides food to hundreds of metro area food banks, helping to provide food to thousands of our neighbors across suburban Maryland, DC and northern Virginia. And this week, CSA received a car load of food collected by the OPEIU Local 2 members and the staff of the National Electrical Benefits Fund in Rockville.
If you would like to help CSA help union members and others in need of food this summer, you can send us gift cards from Giant, Safeway or Shoppers- our union grocery stores, collect non-perishable food at your shop and call us when it’s ready for pick-up or delivery, or send in a financial contribution to CSA earmarked for the Emergency Assistance Fund. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com for information. Labor Cares – Labor Shares! Thank you!