President’s Corner – August 2017

It’s back to school time for many SEIU Local 500 members, with parents and educators getting ready for students to hop onto school buses, return to campuses and prepare for bright futures.
Whatever our individual situations, the beginning of the school year is a good time to remind ourselves that education requires commitment.
I don’t think it’s news to any of you that unions are under attack, including: attacks on public education, attempts to undermine the right of graduate student workers to engage in collective bargaining and larger efforts to strike a killing blow to the entire labor movement.
YOU are the union. Your union is not a tool that we only remember about when something breaks. It is a movement of people who are committed to the goals of fair wages and benefits and the greater public good.
But without that commitment, it all falls apart.
Benjamin Franklin once said, “We must, indeed, all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.”
In the struggle for the right to self-determination, if we don’t stick together, we will be picked off, one by one. Because, make no mistake, we all have targets on our backs.
We have been targeted because we have won better working conditions, better wages and better benefits than our colleagues who do not have a union.
So, my question for you is: will you commit?
Will you commit to stand up for your union? Will you commit to demanding respect for the important work that you do? Will you commit to educating yourself about the efforts to cripple or destroy unions? Will you advocate for yourself and communities we service?
Thank you for everything that you do.
Merle Cuttitta
President, SEIU Local 500
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