SEIU 521 member leaders and stewards from Region 2 (San Benito, Santa Cruz, and Monterey counties) held a leadership conference Nov. 8 to begin shaping a plan to rebuild our political, bargaining and member strength in 2012 and beyond.
“It’s always good to get together with everybody from different chapters and worksites,” said Doris Henry, City of Santa Cruz Chapter President. “It’s good to get different perspectives and work toward common goals. We’re all in the same boat.”
Matt Nathanson, Region II Vice-President, and Veronica Rodriguez, Santa Cruz County Chapter President, gave presentations on the growing disparity of wealth and how it translates to the challenges that all public workers face at the bargaining table today, including furloughs, cuts to retirement security, and attacks on health care.
Member leaders brainstormed and identified upcoming issues in 2012 that will be significant for public employees throughout the region.
One of the top issues that members pledged to participate in next year is working to stop “paycheck deception,” which is a plan to weaken unions by blocking members from donating to political campaigns.
Members also signed up to participate in next year’s elections (from the U.S. Presidential race to the local city council races); to join the Nov. 17 Occupy Santa Cruz action; to join the 521 Pension Committee; and to join our COPE Committee.
“We are part of the union and we all need to work together to make the union stronger,” said Laura Cuadros, Salud Para La Gente Chapter.
“What we talked about today is what we need to do be successful in 2012, whether it’s at the bargaining table or at the worksite,” said Martha Booker, San Benito County Chapter President. “To make this happen we need you to get involved.”
Member leaders are planning a January 2012 Conference to adopt bargaining principles, our vision, and our goals for Region 2.