There will be an election on Wednesday, May 13th for the Local 3315 officer positions of President, Recording Secretary, and Executives at Large. Below are the candidate statements for each candidate for office. Anyone with questions should contact Local 3315 Election Chair Margaret Domin.
Candidates for President
I started with the Cook County Public Defender’s office in February of 2003. First assigned to Child Protection then in 2004 I made the move to 26th Street. I have been in the Felony Trial Division ever since. I got lucky I know, sorry.
I started with the union actively in 2007, first as a steward, and then as a member of the executive board. During my time as steward I have advocated dozens of grievances for members of this local. Both for disciplinary issues and for promotions. As a member of the executive board I have spent the last four years doing labor management meetings, grievances, and participating in contract negations.
There are four areas that I want to address as President of local 3315. First is communication between the board and the members. The last year and a half communication between the board and members has diminished. We have been in a lengthy contract negotiations, over 28 months now. This lack of communication has led to members not knowing what is happening at the table. Because of the lack of communication the support that the board needs from the members to show management we are serious about a contract has not been as vigorous as it could be. I want to fix this by getting the email system back to its full participation. I also want to use more site notifications, even if it’s just memos in the mail boxes. Regular site meetings also need to take place. And my door has always open for those that have questions.
The next is transparency. The members need to know what their board is doing on their behalf. The members also should feel confident that their concerns will be listened to and taken into account. This issue dovetails with communication. I have always made it a point to explain my position on an issue or about how I voted on an issue when someone has asked. I invite members to give me their opinions and show me something on an issue that I am missing so we can arrive at a better solution. If a member can persuade me my position is wrong I have no problem reassessing it.
Third. Fiscal year 2016 is going to be a very difficult year. The governor has cut funding in his budget to municipalities, which includes Cook County. This union and this local in particular are going to have to advocate to keep funding levels up for our office. We need President that is as comfortable in the Cook County Board Room as they are in a courtroom or as they are in handling a grievance.
Fourth is our very future. From pensions to the very existence as a union we have a governor that thinks you make too much money now, and that your pension is too generous. He has stated that if his policies are enacted there will be no unions left in Illinois after four years. Again this union and this local in particular need to have leadership that is engaged in the political community. We need leadership that can assist Council 31 in talking with Senators and Assemblypersons to advocate our positions on these issues that confront us. These last two areas are areas where a President of this local, along with a good leadership team, can make great contributions to local 3315.
I ask for your vote and appreciate all of your support.
Respect in Representation and doing what needs to be done. This has been my approach to serving the members of Local 3315. I began as a steward shortly after joining the Public Defender’s office. It was my goal to learn everything about representing members, so I spent my time shadowing other stewards. When the time came I stepped up and became Chief Steward. Although there were members of the board with more time on the board I took on the task of representing members across the County in grievance proceedings. As President there have been major issues that we have faced from contract negotiations to multiple class grievances. We changed web masters and had to recreate an email blast, and it was your President that got out and resolved both issues. At a moment’s notice when the website went down it was your President that got it up and running the next day. No leader is an island and it takes the cooperation of the board to make sure that every member is heard, the communication with members will only improve as we move forward for another term. In the last year and a half I have requested the assistance of stewards and board members to recreate the email blast and to stay in communication with the members during our search for a new email source. I have sent out updates for contract negotiations through the stewards because it was my belief that the members should have contact with a person while we have been in this contract fight, even visiting most sights to keep the members updated and address concerns. I have also attended a majority of the contract negotiations and provided the stewards with updates throughout the process, when the members requested more information I provided more email updates. I have personally retrieved emails from members to make sure that we are getting the email blast to having 100% participation by members. I have requested the stewards to make copies and get the information out to the members at their sites, as well as requesting regular steward’s meetings to keep all members updated. I have taken time off work to attend County board meetings to make sure our issues are represented with the County board, and fostering the relationships with the County Commissioners to make sure our issues are represented.
Also your President has been willing to fight for my members and the AFSCME family from walking the picket line with our State brothers and sisters to being the only board member to walk the picket line in Will County when they were fighting for their contract. I’ve worked with members from counseling sessions to arbitration, making sure at each step the member maintained their respect but felt the support of representation. I’ve returned members to work based on my representation and I’ve made myself available to each member as I fought with them against management. All members deserve the representation of the Union and it is never more real than when they are facing management in the fight of their career. Through each step of the fight I am ever present and answering questions and getting the job done.
I currently serve on the PEOPLE committee with Council 31 and our voice is heard on the pension issue. I have served on the phone banks after work calling representatives and taking the IL representatives who voted to steal our pensions to task as they again requested AFSCME support for their re-election. I have the ability and the tenacity to challenge the IL representatives without any ties to the IL representatives which compromises the members of local 3315. There has not been a task to small for me to tackle as your President and if allowed to continue to serve I will continue to fight for the members of 3315.
Candidates for Recording Secretary
I have practiced law for 24 years; first as a 7/11 for the city of Chicago in traffic court, then as an assistant attorney general, criminal appeals. Following that, I was an administrative law judge for the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board. During that time, I investigated unfair labor practices and ruled on cases involving school boards and Unions. I also am a certified mediator, having received my certification from Center for Conflicts Resolution. I plan to finish my legal career as a public defender.
As some of you know, I’ve been in child protection for most of my career, except for the two years that I practiced in juvenile justice. After receiving my Grade 3 in 2004, I returned to child protection where I have remained.
I’ve been a steward for 14 years. During that time, I have handled many grievances and have zealously stood for the rights of our brothers and sisters. I feel very strongly that the union should represent the members and what is in their best interests. And I would pledge to do that to the best of my ability.
Thanks for listening and I would appreciate your support.
Sarah Garza Resnick
Hello! My name is Sarah Garza Resnick and I am currently the Secretary of our local and I am running again for Secretary. Over the past two years I have represented numerous members at their grievances, worked diligently in negotiating a new contract for us and advocated for us politically. I have especially argued for parental leave rights during our negotiations.
I am running again to ensure our local is governed openly and transparently.
Governor Rauner is coming after us and to ensure our survival over the next four years we will have to battle our enemies and work to ensure our political allies stand with us.
I am running for Secretary because I know how important union democracy is. I know that with the current attacks on government employees, we need to stand together to keep our union strong. I grew up in a labor union family and have stood on many picket lines. I literally have fought with and for the labor movement my entire life.
I also spent many years running Democratic (union-endorsed) political campaigns, from mayoral to presidential campaigns, throughout the country. During these campaigns, I worked closely with labor leaders, community organizations and political leaders to champion the rights of working women and men.
Organizing and fighting for rights is my passion and I would savor the opportunity to continue to put the skills to use for you.
Our jobs are demanding. We demand rights for those we represent and we ask in return that we be treated with respect, including far pay and working condition. Please support my candidacy by voting for me. My experience will help our local weather the difficult times that lie ahead of us.
Please contact me if you have any questions. Thank you.
Sarah Garza Resnick
Candidates for Executive at Large
Brett E. Gallagher
Dear brothers and sisters, today I write to ask for your vote and support in the upcoming Local 3315 Election. As many of you know, the political tides in our State have turned and brought with them troubling waters. Our Local faces new challenges in the fight for our pension, salaries, and employment interests. Indeed, the very existence of our Local is being threatened. It is in this environment that our Local would most benefit from my experience in representing collective interests in the face of significant political forces, as well as my demonstrated understanding of the delicate balance between fierce advocacy and diplomacy.
Prior to joining the Law Office of the Cook County Public Defender, I worked in a position with the American Bar Association’s Justice Center and the Center for Professional Responsibility, where my role centered on legal policy development and advocacy. I had the opportunity to advocate for the policies and positions of the Association while also building consensus among different state and national groups with often competing interests—including legislators, bar organizations, and other members of the legal community.
Since joining the Office, I also have had the opportunity to work with leadership in several Cook County Offices. As an attorney in our office’s Bond Court Initiative, I was often charged with presenting our office’s policies and the realities of our role in the courtroom to other County stakeholders and outside organizations. Through working with these groups, we ensured that the needs of our Office were represented in any reforms to the bond court system.
Outside of the Office, I can say that I grew up in Chicago and am no stranger to the city’s local politics. In my formative years, I worked for the office of Alderman Vi Daley and was active in the local Democratic Party. Since that time,
I have also been active in my local neighborhood association, where I currently serve on the Board of Directors. In this position, I have represented the interests of residents and local businesses while working with other associations and local officials—including local and state representatives and the aldermen of three different wards.
It is this experience that I will bring to the table in tirelessly representing our collective interests. Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to representing you in the future.
Brett E. Gallagher
There are two primary qualities I would like to emphasize in urging you to vote for me for Executive-at-Large of Local 3315 in the union election scheduled for May 13, 2015. First and foremost, I am a devoted Assistant Public Defender who has been in this office for almost 26 years. I am currently a Grade III felony trial assistant in District 3 – Rolling Meadows. The other thing I consider fundamental is that during the entire time I have been an Assistant Public Defender, I have been active in the union. I am currently an Executive-at-Large and PEOPLE Chair of Local 3315’s Executive Board.
My duties as a criminal defense attorney and union representative have intertwined during my career in the Public Defenders Office. I became a Union Site Steward in the Appeals Division (now “LRD”) when I was first hired back in September, 1989. During the 11 plus years I was in Appeals, I held numerous positions in the local including President, Vice-President, Executive-at-Large, and Chief Steward. I transferred to 26thStreet in March, 2001 and then to Rolling Meadows in September, 2002, where I continued as a felony trial assistant and Executive-at-Large and PEOPLE Chair of the Local. In my various positions of union leadership, I have represented our members in virtually every form of grievance and disciplinary matter. I have been involved in numerous Labor-Management meetings. I have helped to negotiate every one of our union contracts except for the first one in 1987. I am a member of the bargaining committee that is currently negotiating our next contract. As PEOPLE Chair, I am proud of my efforts to enroll over half of our members in PEOPLE which funds much of AFSCME’s political agenda. This position has taken on greater importance since the election of anti-union Governor Ruiner, err, Rauner. I, personally, have taken 2, 6-week leaves of absences to work full-time on important political elections, and was a labor delegate to the Democratic Convention in 2012. I have attended numerous political conferences in Springfield and Peoria, and have participated in countless candidate endorsement meetings on behalf of our local. I have been our local’s delegate to many AFSCME national conventions.
I believe that my long years of service to this office and to our local render me eminently qualified to serve as an Executive-at-Large and PEOPLE Chair in the future. It is for that reason that I am requesting your support on May 13th. Thank-you.
My name is Kyan Keenan. I am running for a position as an Executive-at-Large. I am currently assigned to the Felony Trial Division at 26th and California where I have been assigned since 2007. I have been an Assistant Public Defender since 2003 and involved in the union as a steward since 2004. I have been a full Union Member and a PEOPLE member since my hiring. I have been trained and certified as a steward by AFSCME and have been active as a steward at every site I have been assigned to. I was the only union representative in my role as steward during my assignment at the Domestic Advocacy Unit and was primarliy responsible for union representation and communication within that unit. My goals, if elected, will be to continue to provide executive board transparency to the membership, increase communication and involvement with the membership and represent the interests of my colleagues in all areas as a representative of our local.
Richard N. Porter
I am running for Executive-At-Large. I have been a Union Steward, since 2001. I have also been a Union Trustee. As a trustee, I sat in on the Negotiations that led to the 2002 Strike. The 2002 Strike was crucial. I was the Strike Captain for the Markham Courthouse during the 2002 strike. If it were not for that strike, our insurance would be way more expensive and perhaps less beneficial.
I feel our Union has done a good job, but I feel we need to be a bit stronger. Preckwinkle has pulled some shenanigans during her tenure. For example, on the last contract, she stole about 1 year’s worth of Retro pay from us. This go-around she is threatening to steal another 6 months. We need to fight that. I don’t see the shenanigans stopping. I would like to add to the Union’s strength.
I have been with the office for 18+ years. I am nearing the end of my road. I would like to do what I can to make sure that our pensions are as safe and secure as possible. I would also like to work to make the work environment and benefits as good as possible for younger and new attorneys down the line. I believe our office has benefited from having a Union. I would like to see that continue.
I ASK FOR YOUR SUPPORT . THANK YOU.
My name is Gwyndolette Ward-Brown. I started in the Public Defender’s Office as a clerk in the Appellate Division in 1990. After passing the bar I worked in the Post-Conviction Unit. When the Appellate Division and Post-Conviction Divisions were combined, I became a part of the Legal Resources Division where I am now assigned.
I was a union steward in the Post Conviction Unit and remained a steward for a short time when we became the Legal Resources Division.
I come from a union family. My dad was a union member. My mother was a union member. My husband was a union member and worked for the National Education Association. And as a union member I believe in what we stand for. I believe that there is power in the people and we are much more powerful together than we are apart.
As a child I did not quite understand what a union was. But when my father needed representation, the union was there for him and helped him keep his job. When my mother went on strike and our family’s income was affected, I remember people coming to our house with offers of cash and transportation if we needed it. The union was there for her and our family. My parents got higher wages and job security because of their unions. And as a union member I have benefitted from the hard work that has been done on my behalf. There is a peace of mind in knowing that I have a force behind me when I need them. The union.
Like I said, I have benefited. I have benefited with higher wages, generous health benefits and even wage equality. But I would like to do more than just benefit. I would like to put in the work required to keep these benefits. I have seen close friends in my home state of Wisconsin struggle to keep their unions strong in the face of a growing anti-union atmosphere. I would like to represent our workers as a passionate believer in what unions do for families and individuals. We have a peace of mind that many don’t share. We have a job security that too many don’t share. That’s because we have a Union.
Please vote for me for the office of Executive Board Member. Thank you.