By TIM ROWDEN
The Missouri AFL-CIO has established a new award recognizing those union activists who volunteer their time in each legislative session and election cycle by volunteering for door-to-door walks, phone banking, fundraising and other efforts to fight back attacks on working families and defeat politicians who subscribe to these attacks.
Mark Staffne, business representative from IBEW 1439 in St. Louis, was one of the first recipients of the award, named after the late Chere Chaney who exemplified all of those qualities and more to be called a “Super Volunteer.”
Staffne is a tireless volunteer, turning out at walks and fundraisers for worker-friendly, rallies for other unions and worker causes and serving on the St. Louis Labor Council’s Executive Board.
Staffne urged union members to volunteer their time to get worker-friendly candidates elected because “It’s the right thing to do.”
The establishment of the award was approved unanimously by delegates at the Missouri AFL-CIO’s 28th Biennial Convention last month in Kansas City and Sister Chaney, who lost her battle to cancer on Sept.12, 2016, was named the first recipient. Her sons, Greg Chaney and Chris Perdue accepted a Lifetime Achievement Award in her honor.
In addition to Staffne, Pete Raya, political director for IBEW Local 124 in Kansas City also received an award.
REMEMBERING SISTER CHANEY
Sister Chaney was a member of the Communication Workers of America (CWA) for over 50 years and had served on the executive board a president and executive vice president for CWA Local 6450. She also served as legislative chair for the Missouri AFL-CIO.
Sister Chaney was perhaps best known for volunteering countless hours to give a voice to working families.
Sister Chaney served in a variety of leadership roles outside of her local, including president of the Missouri Coalition of Labor Union Women, leader of the Greater Kansas City Coalition of Labor Union Women and Women’s Political Caucus and vice president of the Missouri Alliance of Retired Americans.
In 1995, she was elected to the Lee’s Summit City Council. She had also represented Prairie Township on the Jackson County Democratic Committee since the late 1990s.
Over the years, Sister Chaney was the recipient of countless awards and honors for her service including the Dutch Newman Democratic Woman of the Years in 2001, the Seth Slocum Union Advocate of the Year Award in 2011 and the Harry S. Truman Service Award in 2013.