Income inequality continues to grow in the United States. CEO’s and corporations refuse to pay their fair share of taxes. While 1 percent of the population controls 40 percent of America’s wealth, about 14 million people remain unemployed.
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Using a free thinking, free flowing meeting method called “open space,” delegates wrestled with today’s big issues during the convention. What is our idea of a just society? How does public service play into this vision? How can we steer our union to help America achieve a fair economy and a just society?
Records of the convention will be placed into a Book of Proceedings, which will then go to the 521 Executive Board and be used to develop a plan for the future of our union.
Here’s what member delegates said about the convention:
“This is about receiving input on the main topics our member driven union wants to focus on. There have been several members who see our union density is decreasing and the importance of getting out there and talking to people about organizing and growing. The future is getting bleak. Losses are severe. We must organize. We must build. And we must educate others about our history.”
— Gwyn Harshaw, SEIU Local 521 President
“We need to get out of our comfort zone, start getting involved. Support SEIU and start calling our local government officials. Set up meetings, tables, whatever it takes to get our message out. We have to be grassroots and start with our community first.”
— Heidi Perez, Office Assistant II, Fresno County Department of Social Services
“This union is for every one of us; every profession, every job. Our union protects us all, across the board. We should be involved, especially now, so that we can be stronger as one.”
— Sharon Ingram, Nurse, Kern Medical Center, Bakersfield
“We are addressing the most important inequity that’s happening in our society; that is the economic crisis is being placed in our lap and we are getting ready to fight back. Corporate America is the real culprit in this. SEIU is organizing, so be prepared.”
— Carmen Morales, First Vice President of SEIU 521
“I think this is great. We’re getting people together to share ideas and make some positive changes to move our union forward. We’ve got to find a way for everyone to have a job to provide for their families.”
— Vicki Rodriguez, Vice President, Santa Cruz County Chapter
“A fair economy only makes sense. It helps everybody, not just the rich. Everyone needs to be treated fairly. We need to get the word out. This convention is a step forward in doing that.”
— Connie Chew, Senior Paralegal, Santa Clara County
“I think this is good because we’re able to get opinions from various demographics; the young, old, unemployed and retired. People are very interested in having big corporations pay their fair share.”
— Dolly Clemente, Home Care worker, San Mateo County
“Don’t be part of the problem. Be part of the solution.”
— Adam Gintz, Facilities Support Assistant, Golden Valley Health Centers, Merced