Dear SEIU Local 99 Member,
Today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision in a legal case that aims to weaken our power to fight for better wages, good jobs, and better services for the students and families we serve.
You may have heard about the case called Janus vs. AFSCME. The goal of this case is to cut-off resources from unions by getting workers to opt-out of their union and not pay dues. Let me be clear about what this means for SEIU Local 99 members.
It means that the benefits and job protections we currently have are threatened. And it means we could lose our power to fight for more. As union members, a majority of us have basic benefits that most workers do not enjoy like vacation pay, health care benefits, paid sick days, seniority, the right to negotiate over layoffs, and a fair process to protect against unjust termination. With today’s court decision, we could lose it all.
Child Care Providers who provide critical early learning and care to our youngest children, who have been fighting for 15 years to win collective bargaining rights, could face an even harder battle to win this basic right to win respect for their profession.
The fact is employers have never given us anything without a fight. Union members fought for the benefits and protections we have today. Do we need more? Of course! We want continued wage increases, more full-time work, health care benefits for all, equal job protections and living wages not just for ourselves, but for all working families in our communities. Together in our Union, we can continue to fight for more.
And that’s exactly why unions are under attack. The Janus vs AFSCME case was funded by national anti-worker groups who want to weaken unions across the country. The people behind these attacks include CEOs of major corporations that support unregulated charter schools and private companies eager to replace public workers with their contractors.
After today’s court decision, you may start hearing things like “give yourself a raise and drop out of the union.” You may get notices in the mail, tv, radio and social media. People may even come to your door. Don’t be fooled.
If members begin to drop-out of their union, we all lose strength. And not just in our current contract negotiations and campaigns, but into the future. Without the strength in numbers that forces employers to negotiate in good faith, it’s almost certain that we’ll begin to see cutbacks.
We can fight back. There are two things you can do today:
- Recommit to being a member to defend our union, our paychecks, benefits, and our voice on the job.
- Take a photo of yourself with your co-workers or family holding a sign that says Union. Post it on your Facebook, Instagram or other social media accounts. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #union.
I’m confident that Local 99 members know the power of being Union. I’ve seen it more than ever over the last few months as thousands of members geared up for a strike at LAUSD that pressured the school district to reach a fair agreement. I see it in the spirit of child care providers who have been fighting tirelessly for 15 years to win the right to negotiate a contract. I saw it recently at the Ventura County Community College District were members packed the Board of Trustees meeting to protest skyrocketing health care costs – and won! I see it every day as Local 99 members courageously speak out at their worksites for more staffing, fair treatment, and respect.
No court case will stop us. Stay active and informed. Learn more about this case and who’s behind it here.
We are #99Strong,
SEIU Local 99 President / LAUSD Building Engineer