Last week marked an amazing victory for us Richmond city employees. We did it! We won our union election! In a vote count of 95.5% yes votes, we overwhelmingly voted in favor of winning our union. We did not get here overnight and despite having the law and history against us, we came together across departments and won a major victory for ourselves!
“I am glad about this,” said Otissa Williams, a fellow Richmond city employee in the department of Social Services. “This is a long time coming and was needed. Now we actually have a voice in what we receive as far as compensation, better [working] conditions, and now we can better serve our individuals without the worry over top of our head.”
This historic victory was decades in the making. For the first time in over four decades, we now have the right to collectively bargain! As Richmond city employees, we formed a union not only to improve our own working conditions, but also shape and improve the services we provide to community members. We know this road will not be easy, but we are up for the challenge knowing that we are not doing this alone.
While on paper we may be seen as multiple bargaining units, we are committed to come together collectively to make Richmond an even better place to work and live for ourselves and future generations. Richmond city employees provide the essential services that make our city strong. By joining together, we have demanded that everyone is respected, protected, and paid fairly for the important work we do.
We are excited to continue this journey and want to give thanks to the incredible hard work of city workers, leaders, community members, political allies, and all the union members who have come to Richmond both locally and nationwide to help us secure this victory. We look forward to the next steps of our journey and to celebrating this victory together at the Black History Museum on June 30th at 5:00 pm!
In the coming weeks, the Administration and Technical unit, united in SEIU Virginia 512, will fight to improve our benefits for healthcare and retirement, win real job security we can count on, get paid a fair wage, and be treated with respect.
The success of this election is the beginning of a tidal wave of city and county workers across the Commonwealth who will vote to join a union for the very first time. Just like the City of Richmond, Virginia is and will continue to be for unions!
Thank you for being with us! Retweet SEIU Virginia 512’s tweet celebrating this victory!