Members from across SEIU met Saturday morning in Philadelphia to learn more about the threats unions and working people are facing and to discuss how to fight back. National right to work will happen next year to public sector employees, such as teachers, school food service workers, police officers, county employees, etc. Right to work legislation essentially is the right to work for less. It is legislation that seeks to cripple unions’ power. Unfortunately, we don’t have to guess what the outcomes of right to work legislation will be. In the states that are currently right to work, people earn approximately $6,000 less per year, workplace deaths increase, and access to employer based health insurance decreases. Anti-union interests plan to make it easier for employers to treat workers however they want. Although the legislation will only impact public sector employees next year, make no mistake, they are trying to limit private sector workers’ bargaining rights as well.
We are facing difficult times ahead, and the only path forward is by engaging our membership, the community at large, and by joining with other unions. At Saturday’s meeting, member leaders from all locals shared struggles and ideas for moving forward together. David Lee, local president of Marshalls, shared the importance of talking to workers about the union from the day they are hired and showing the power of the union through shop floor actions. These ideas were echoed by other union leaders. Unity will be key. It is also important that we continue to elect candidates that support working families issues, such as Governor Wolf.
There will be lots of opportunities for involvement in the coming months. If you are interested, please contact your business agent. We will provide the training, if you provide the passion.