Issued May 23, 2019
For Immediate Release: May 23, 2019
Today, SEIU released the following statement on the outcomes of its efforts to come to agreement on a new contract with its unionized headquarters-based staff represented by the Office and Professional Employees Union (OPEIU) Local 2. The following statement is attributable to SEIU spokeswoman Sahar Wali:
“As a union and an employer, SEIU wholeheartedly respects and supports the ability of our employees to join together, negotiate the terms and conditions of their work and ensure that they have a strong voice at work. OPEIU Local 2 pushed, on principle, for the continued ability to jointly bargain with staff from a separate employer, the SEIU National Industry Pension Fund (NIPF). They bargained this contract jointly with them. Our goal going into and throughout bargaining and subsequent mediation has always been to come to agreement by offering our OPEIU-represented staff the kind of benefits and bargaining power that SEIU members fight for every day and that not-yet-union workers can only dream of. We have worked for almost a year at the table and through mediation to offer them a contract that would have improved their wages, ensured that all current staff enjoy layoff protections upon five years of service, enhanced their already fully-paid healthcare, extended fully-paid parental leave, provided life insurance, and established a program that would contribute to paying down their student debt.
While NIPF staff voted to ratify a contact containing these terms, regrettably, OPEIU Local 2’s SEIU staff did not, abandoning their own principle of unity.
We are a union that is also an employer who must serve as responsible stewards of our members’ resources and maintain their ability to fight for a better life through their union. Despite our efforts to come to the best agreement with our OPEIU Local 2 unionized staff, there are situations when what we see as in the best interest of our members does not match certain demands made by unionized staff. In a time of heightened attack, we are proud to have been able to offer our staff a contract with such robust provisions without demanding any major concessions on behalf of any current staff members. We absolutely respect OPEIU Local 2’s right to reject this contract and to take collective action, including striking. Our members need us to continue the important work we do on their behalf by moving forward and that is exactly what we are prepared to do.”