The Fight for a Fair Economy starts with us, starting now

SEIU Executive Vice President Tom Woodruff explains how the American economy has changed to benefit executives instead of workers

It is clear to all of us that our economy is not working. The SEIU 521 Executive Board and a dozen other member leaders met July 15-16 in Fresno to discuss how we can build the Fight for a Fair Economy campaign into a national movement.

Breaking into working groups, participants of the Member Leader Action Conference planned ways to reach out to fellow members and the greater community to talk about our economy and why it’s failing the middle class.

Members and the Executive Board also heard a presentation from Tom Woodruff, Executive Vice President of SEIU, who showed how top corporate officers are making hundreds or even thousands of dollars per hour while millions of workers remain unemployed and are losing their homes. Meanwhile, the tax rate on those top earners has dropped.

At the top of the heap is General Electric, whose CEO chairs the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, but which pays no taxes on its billions of dollars in profits.

“They didn’t pay for a single bulletproof vest for a soldier in Afghanistan,” Woodruff pointed out.

The members concluded that SEIU 521 workers must work together to change not just laws but society’s attitudes. To preserve and strengthen the middle class, we need to ensure that the fruits of our collective labor are equitably distributed and that all workers – not just executives – can have the security of a contract.

A video of Tom Woodruff’s Fight for a Fair Economy PowerPoint presentation will be posted online shortly.

We have a labor situation today because we are not adequately organized to fight back and we must recruit and build a more participatory labor movement for the Fight for a Fair Economy. — Ellen Rollins, IHSS, Rehabilitation Specialist


A follow-up to the Member Leader Action Conference is scheduled for Aug. 22 via telephone and video-conference.

Delegates attending SEIU 521’s Biennual Convention, Oct. 7-9, will be charged with drafting ideas of how to take the Fight for a Fair Economy to our worksites.

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