What Sen. Specter's Announcement Means for Us

TO: SEIU Pennsylvania Members

FROM: Andy Stern, SEIU International President
Eileen Connelly, SEIU PA

RE: What Sen. Specter's Announcement Means for Us

DATE: April 30, 2009

No doubt about it, this has been an exciting week. Senator Specter's decision to change his political affiliation to Democrat, we believe, changes the dynamics surrounding the future of the Employee Free Choice Act and winning comprehensive healthcare reform--and creates a host of opportunities to pass other critical pieces of our legislative agenda.

We applaud the Senator on showing the political courage we know it took to change parties--and to move to a place we believe is more closely aligned with his personal convictions. But SEIU has always been an organization that supports candidates and elected officials based on their commitment to working families, not their party labels.

The issues that face working people in Pennsylvania have not changed, and the support we need from our representatives in Congress hasn't changed, either.

We know there have been contradictory and confusing reports about what Senator Specter's decision means for the priorities of working families in our state. In a word: our fight for Employee Free Choice and quality, affordable healthcare continues, as strong as ever.

Since Senator Specter announced he would not support the Employee Free Choice Act in its current form, SEIU, the two labor federations (AFL-CIO and Change to Win) and their affiliates have:

  • Generated over 50,000 calls to Specter's offices;
  • Produced over 50,000 total handwritten letters to Specter's offices;
  • Held hundreds of protests, rallies and house meetings across the state.

And we will continue to do so until Sen. Specter supports the principles of the Employee Free Choice Act: allowing workers, not employers, to choose how and when to form a union; enforcing real penalties for employers who break the law; and ensuring that those who've chosen a union can actually secure a contract.

We are currently circulating email petitions asking Sen. Specter to put the priorities of working families ahead of partisanship, and will deliver those petitions to his offices on Friday.

Let's make sure he hears from us. We have some great opportunities ahead... but much work still to do.

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