Powerful corporate interests, like the Koch brothers and Walton Family (owners of Walmart), have for decades worked to weaken workers’ collective voices in the private sector. Their current focus is to undermine worker power by attacking unions in the public sector. They are driven by one simple goal: keep wages stagnant, increase corporate profits.
Organizations like National Right to Work Committee and American Legislative Exchange Council have two avenues of attack: legislative and judicial. In 2011, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, a friend of the Koch Bros., passed a bill stripping public employees of collective bargaining rights. Public employees lost up to 15% in wages. This year, the Supreme Court is hearing a case that could turn public unions into “voluntary unions,” a catastrophic blow to workers’ ability to organize and bargain collectively (Friedrichs v. CTA).
Click here for a recent update on the Friedrichs court case.
Watch some videos here to learn why there has never been a more critical time in our lives to band together and fight for dignity in the workplace and for the middle class as a whole.
The impact will be monumental if our collective bargaining strength ceases and we return to a landscape where our lives, and livelihood, are determined solely by the employer. We can not sit back and just watch the Labor Movement die. SEIU Local 521 is committed to continue winning for workers even if we become a “voluntary” union. It’s up to us!
SEIU Local 521’s Executive Board created a Transformation Committee in October 2015. The committee is made up of members, staff, and executive board members with representation from all regions of our Local. The purpose of the transformation committee is to come up with a set of recommendations to the Executive Board that addresses how we prioritize our resources in a changed world of voluntary dues.
The Transformation Committee has identified 3 key strategies that are essential to our ability to continue to win for workers both locally and in national campaigns:
- Maintaining a strong membership under a voluntary organization
- Prioritizing member and staff leadership development
- Building political power and influence to continue to win for workers
The Transformation Committee is exploring both short- and long-term recommendations to the Executive Board. In the short-term, the committee will focus on Innovative Pilot Projects we can do now that help us move SEIU Local 521 towards transformation. The Committee has decided to focus on the following three areas:
- Communication and Organizational Structure
- Politics and Community Building
- Leadership Development and Member Engagement
Short-term recommendations to the Executive Board are due March 2016 and long-term recommendations by June 2016. In order to meet these deadlines, the Committee has organized into 3 subcommittees to further explore these areas and come up with a set of recommendations for both the short-term and long-term plan. Subcommittees are meeting throughout March and will be presenting their short term recommendations at the March 19 Transformation Committee meeting.