A new location and a new generation. Those were the themes of Saturday night’s 42nd annual Evening with Labor, held for the first time at Martin’s Crosswinds in Greenbelt, Maryland. From newly-elected president Steve Cook of the Washington-Baltimore News Guild – who accepted an Organizing Award -- to the new Executive Board at SEIU 722 – who took the stage as Local president Dan Fields accepted the Community Services Award – many of the night’s speakers welcomed new leaders in the labor movement. And longtime leaders who won awards stressed the need for a new generation to tackle the challenges that lie ahead for the labor movement. “We are in difficult times,” said Herbert Harris Jr., the 2018 J.C. Turner Outstanding Trade Unionist of the Year. “We can meet those challenges if we do three things: if we are courageous, committed and compassionate.”
Former Metro Washington Council president Jos Williams accepted the first Joslyn N. Williams Vanguard award on behalf of future winners who will “demonstrate the ability to impact labor’s future beyond traditional means.”
Current Metro Washington Council president Jackie Jeter welcomed the new generation of labor activists and leaders, saying that “New Generation means that those who are now coming into the labor movement must lean into the difficult days ahead of us,” and paid tribute to “those who have blazed the trail for us today.”
And in a special moment that crystalized the evening’s theme, Gino Renne, president of UFCW 1994/MCGEO and the longtime first vice president of the Metro Washington Council – who is not running for re-election to the Council this year -- spoke emotionally about his deep commitment to the Council and the local labor movement, “but it’s time for others to step up for the battles ahead.” The new location – the first time the event has ever been held outside the District of Columbia – proved popular with attendees, who especially appreciated the free and easily accessible parking. “Thanks especially to the law firm of Koonz, McKenney, which sponsored our pre-dinner reception – and provided a free drink for every attendee-- along with Kaiser Permanente,” said dinner Chair Doris Reed. “Thanks also to the law firm of Ashcraft and Gerel, which once again provided the excellent wine for the dinner.” Prince George's County Executive Angela Alsobrooks thanked the Metro Council for bringing the event to the County and said she hopes it will return.
Click here for albums of photos (award-winners, speakers, reception and dancing) and here to download the 2019 Evening with Labor program book.