Sean P. McLeod


[Excerpt] In the late 1980s, AFSCME Local 2703, in Merced, California, found itself in a position familiar to many union members at that time: fighting hard to keep pay and benefits from being slashed. The realization that these confrontations could occur at every contract led local members to look for ways to make local government more responsive to the working men and women of the community. Through commitment and determination — and two bitter strikes — Local 2703 held its own against a local government determined to render it powerless. Through community education and coalition, the local to (sic) achieved its first small victories.

The lessons the local members learned enabled them to build an effective and influential political action committee that reaches beyond the limits of their own union contracts to pursue political change, furthers community awareness and promote coalitions across racial, ethnic, and economic barriers. Their continuing commitment to the notion that working men and women are brothers and sisters, who deserve the respect of their peers and their government leaders, has them poised to be a visible influence in the politics of Merced County.