The big raise that’s coming to us in LA County in about two weeks is not something that was just given to us. We fought hard for our raise, together, as a union.
It wasn’t something that the CEO, management or the boss felt enthusiastic about or felt obligated to give. SEIU 721 had to kick it into high gear at our worksites, in the streets and ultimately at the bargaining table to get our raise – and to secure more dollars for medical premium cost increases, for childcare and elder care costs, for public transit subsidies and more.
It’s vital that we remember who was in our corner, negotiating relentlessly for us to get the best deal possible. It was, and always will be, our union.
The bottom line is that it’s our union helping each and every one of us meet our own bottom line. We call that the union difference because it makes ALL the difference.
The union difference is something we do not take for granted. It makes all the difference every time we buy our groceries, every time we fill up our gas tank, every time we pay our monthly bills, every time we try and put some savings away for our kid’s college education (or perhaps pay off student loans of our own) and every time we or our loved ones need to see a doctor or a dentist.
Right now, there’s a resurgence in union activity. We’re witnessing it everywhere from Amazon, Starbucks, Uber, Lyft and DoorDash to the fast-food sector and beyond. It’s a phenomenon we see happening not only in the U.S. but internationally.
Other people want what we already have – a union – because they know that the union difference makes all the difference. They want to seat at the bargaining table. They want to advocate for better wages and working conditions without the fear of being fired and left out in the cold solely because they dared to organize.
They want worker power.
It’s something that, especially as president of SEIU 721, I hope each and every one of us keeps in mind as we get our well-deserved pay raises at the end of the month. Our worker power got us our raise. That’s why I defend our union so proudly.
I believe deeply in our mission of building worker power. Our union is each other – it’s each and every one of us, together. So, I get defensive against any forces attacking us.
Those forces are bound to come at us this holiday season. They almost always do. Every time, they try to trick us into dropping our union membership. Anti-union tricksters will tell us to give ourselves a raise but remember – WE ALREADY DID, through our union.
And don’t forget: Our 5.5% raise at the end of this month is just the start. Our union power also got us a 3.25% raise in 2023 AND another 3.25% raise in 2024. These are pay increases we can count on – and they come with some of the best benefits packages in the public sector.
So, as we all get ready to enjoy the holidays, know that our union is in our corner and that the more we stand united, the stronger our union will be. Together, we win!
SEIU 721 President David Green