Message from the General Manager, February 2015

E-Board Photo

2014 was a year of direct action for our Union.

Contract Negotiations and Workplace Issues

We won some of the absolute best contracts our members have seen in decades. We handled health and safety issues in manufacturing and distribution. Shop leaders attended a week-long intensive union school to build skills for grievances, organizing, direct action and lobbying for our issues.

Political & Community Outreach

We started January with members at the Civil Rights Conference. In the spring, members met with Fordham students to introduce them to what a union means. Throughout the year, we worked on Comprehensive Immigration Reform. We leafleted for paid sick days. We mobilized and demonstrated against global sweatshops. We hit the streets to call attention to global warming and its devastating economic impacts. This fall, we became the labor representative to the City to bring manufacturing work back to NY and improve retail conditions.

Building a Stronger Union

We began making a five-year plan to build a more powerful union with our members. We built our new organizing department and have begun a campaign to add hundreds of workers to our Union. We restructured the Union Health Center. This award winning, nationally recognized health provider has been redesigned to ensure that it will be available to our members, their families and our brothers and sisters in SEIU for years to come.

While we hit the streets for all those fights, we also proudly supported the rededication of our Union owned bank to its original mission. Amalgamated Bank of New York was founded by our Union to serve our members in 1923. Today, it’s easily the most progressive bank in the U.S.

Organizing for Victory

We have accomplished this all through determination, planning and action.  I am so proud to have been elected along with Fred Kaplan and our Executive Board to continue to lead our work into 2015. We know we have a lot of work ahead.

We have laws and politicians determined to force workers to accept the lowest wages and benefits possible. We have businesses trying to eliminate full-time work. We have a Congress that believes people don’t have a right to health care, living wage rates, pensions or the unions that fight for them.

But we’ve seen time and time again that we can win. We’ve proven that direct action results in change. We’ve seen twenty states increase their minimum wage just this month. We know what we need to achieve our goals. We’re building a strong member organizing program to build external power. We’re dedicating resources to increasing our strength. We’re fighting to win in all our shops to protect and improve our contracts and show others what’s possible when we stick together and take action.

This is the work in front of all of us. 2015 is the year our determination and a strong plan will result in real change for all workers in our industries.

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