August 11, 2014
By Stephanie West
New York, NY – Betty Powell was the President of AFSCME Local 95 and became District Council 1707's longtime Treasurer. Ms. Powell was one of the original organizers of the nation’s first Head Start local in the nation.
After Head Start Employees Local 95 became chartered by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) in 1976, she lead the fight for increased wages and expanded benefits for Head Start workers across he country . Her efforts locally gained District Council 1707 Local 95 the highest wages of Head Start workers in the nation with health care and pension benefits. Powell fought for and won tuition reimbursement for Local 95 employees and she was instrumental in the creation of the Head Start Local 95 Welfare Fund.
Betty worked for Bedford-Stuyvesant Head Start since 1966 where she remained until her retirement in 2013. Her leadership capabilities were noted by her peers who first elected her in 1978 as a Member-At-Large of the Head Start Local 95 Executive Board. She had been reelected President of the local since 1994 where she retired from that position in 2014 and was replaced as president by Carolyn Cox.
“Betty never stopped championing for the rights of child care workers and all workers to have basic dignity and respect," said DC 1707 Executive Director Victoria Mitchell. "She will be missed and she can never be replaced. She was regal in her stature and she was always a lady, but she was always a fighter for just causes,” continued Mitchell.