William-Cannon-2---Photo.jpgRecently I attended the Next Up summit in Chicago, Illinois organized by the AFL-CIO. What I saw there was both uplifting and thought-provoking.

For one, right to work (for less) and its effect on other States has had created challenges for our brothers and sisters around the country.

However, what is more powerful is the work being done by emerging leaders in the labor movement.

I saw and heard stories from many people about work they're doing to strengthen their union, to promote equality, and to make sure that workers rights are being respected in all 50 states.

I left the summit with several things. For one, encouraging people who have union jobs to be more active is both possible and vital to ensure right to work is defeated in Washington state.

Secondly, there is a vibrancy in youth around this nation in fighting for both their rights as well as the rights of their children in the future. Lastly, I myself was inspired by all the possibilities that lay ahead of us in strengthening Teamsters 117.

Working together with other young labor leaders was an experience that I will not forget.

There was a level of motivation and excitement I had not foreseen, and now that I know what is happening all over the country, I am sure that the strength of our union will continue to grow and grow as long as young people are allowed to express their voice and bring to the table their ideas, perspective, and energy.

William Cannon is a Local 117 Shop Steward at the Department of Corrections.