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Build Power, Win Justice Resolution

For a hundred years, service, care, and public workers of all races have built power together in SEIU. The strength of our union comes from millions of us joining together to transform our jobs, our communities, and our countries. We are united by our vision for a just society: where all workers are valued and all people respected, no matter where we are from or the color of our skin; where all families and communities can thrive; and where we leave a more just and equitable world for generations to come. 

For working people united in SEIU, our fight for justice is our past, present, and future. From the founding of our union by immigrant flat janitors to today’s brave Latinx janitors standing against sexual assault; from Black hospital workers who marched in the 1960s for civil rights to the SEIU members who joined with their communities to end “stop and frisk” in New York City; from child care workers of all races who have fought for decades to illuminate the value of their essential, compassionate work to airport workers taking on the big airlines for paying poverty wages; from healthcare workers demanding accessible, quality care for every family to adjunct professors fighting for affordable housing while educating our next generation of leaders; from women fighting for equity and against discrimination and sexual harassment on the job, to LGBTQIA workers demanding dignity and freedom from discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender expression, or gender identity;  from workers fighting for disability rights on the job and in their communities to home care workers and clients who have demanded more together; from public service workers who joined together in unions despite laws that were stacked against them to fast-food workers sparking a movement and winning $15 an hour for millions of workers.

We are proud of our history of fighting for justice, but we know that to achieve our vision for a just society, we must overcome the fundamental challenges of unchecked corporate power and systemic racism. Decades of attacks on workers and our unions have increasingly concentrated wealth and power in the hands of corporations, billionaires, and self-serving politicians who have rigged the system against working families. And the legacies of slavery and colonialism are a part of daily life in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Canada. Voter suppression, gerrymandering, and attacks on voting rights keep voters of color from full participation in our democracy and lessen working people’s political power. Immigrants are used as scapegoats by politicians who use fear to divert our attention from massive corporate tax cuts and multi-billion-dollar giveaways while they reduce funding for the public services our communities need. Indigenous communities are left even further behind under the weight of centuries of violence and racism against them by colonial governments. In the U.S., predatory healthcare companies and insurance plans fail to provide adequate care for communities of color, and put families of all races at the risk of financial ruin to pad their bottom lines.

These challenges have never been more stark and clear than over the past few months, as we have seen a global pandemic with underpaid and underprotected essential workers on the frontlines, an economic depression with tens of millions of people out of work and losing healthcare coverage, and a worldwide uprising to defend Black lives against police and state violence and to repudiate systemic racism. 

These crises have laid bare in a new way the deep divides and inequities that have long existed in our countries. But they have also shown the resilience and power of working people when we join together. We honor the courage and dedication of frontline healthcare and other essential workers caring for us through the pandemic. We honor the dignity of Asian American Pacific Islander workers who deal with racist, xenophobic attacks spurred by the U.S. president’s harmful rhetoric. We honor the leadership of Black workers in creating a worldwide, multi-racial movement to demand an end to police brutality. We honor immigrant workers who are deemed essential to our economy while denied full participation in our democracy. Millions of us have gone to work every day to keep our countries safe, healthy, and fed. And millions of us have taken to the streets to demand justice and accountability, to demand safety for our children, to tear down painful monuments to the Confederacy, and to imagine together a new way forward.

Now, we must act swiftly and with conviction to confront the deadly impacts of unchecked corporate power and structural racism. We must challenge the corporate power that feeds a cycle of multi-generational poverty and drives down standards for SEIU members and all workers. And we must demand solutions from government that center communities of color, dismantle racist policies, and transform our broken immigration system to bring all people out of the shadows, to make sure every family is healthy and safe with the opportunity to thrive, no matter our race, our immigration status, our gender, our job, or where we live. 

We believe deeply in the profound transformation that comes with organizing, with joining together, and with building and holding power together -- and for each other -- in our unions. We will use that power to disrupt the unjust system and mobilize by the millions. From fast-food workers who built the power of the strike for a new generation of workers, to the bold demands of teachers and school workers who went on strike by the tens of thousands across the country, to the dedicated healthcare workers risking their lives to save ours and risking their jobs to speak out during the pandemic, to the workers striking -- sometimes alone -- for protection on their jobs in the midst of this crisis, to the millions who have taken to the streets worldwide to defend Black lives, we have seen the power of working people disrupting the status quo. 

The essential workers of SEIU and the Fight for $15 and a Union are committed to build the path forward with hope and determination to create a just, resilient United States, Puerto Rico, and Canada in which Black lives matter, in which SEIU members have the strength to improve wages and benefits in our industries, in which working people of all races can join together in unions to have a seat at the table and create family-sustaining jobs, and in which everyone participates fully in our democracy.

We call for a reckoning on our nations’ economy and democracy to disrupt centuries of racism and colonialism, generations of corporate exploitation, and decades of anti-union attacks. We refuse to go back to a normal that never worked for working people. We demand immediate, sweeping action by major industries, corporations, and the government to secure the health, safety and long-term economic well-being of working people no matter where we work, our race, or our immigration status. We must rewrite the rules to create the next generation of unions that will transform the lives of millions of workers and build the power we need to achieve justice for all.

In this moment of crisis, we need immediate, transformative solutions to move our countries forward. We must rise to this once-in-a-lifetime challenge to fundamentally transform our politics, economy and society. We must fuel disruption, invest in creative, large-scale worker organizing and activity, drive bold demands to build stronger local unions and, together with our partners, rewrite the rules to build worker power and win racial and economic justice. 

Therefore, we will accelerate our work to unite millions of workers into unions across employers and geographies to build power and to ensure a multi-racial democracy that wins justice for all. We will take immediate action to win now and to lay the foundation for our long-term fight. We will:

  1. Drive an anti-racist agenda and actions. We must take action to combat the deadly impacts of structural racism in America’s economy and democracy. We must come together across race to challenge corporate power so that the private sector contributes to our communities and our country rather than extracting resources and labor without accountability. And we must demand solutions from government that center communities of color and dismantle racist policies that hurt us all to make sure every family is healthy, safe, and secure, no matter our race, our job, or where we live. To demand justice for Black workers and workers of every race, we will continue to align with and provide material support to the Movement for Black Lives and Black-led partner organizations.
  2. Win breakthroughs on Unions for All. Every working person, no matter our race or immigration status, must have the opportunity to join unions across industries and regions to improve wages and working conditions. We will win breakthroughs in long term care, cleaning/security, and fast-food -- industries impacted heavily by the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic depression. We will use our state power and organizing muscle to win  sectoral victories through legislative or executive action. We will insist every candidate and elected official adopt a transformative agenda that directly addresses race, immigration, jobs, healthcare, and climate, and hold them to a higher standard to specifically write rules that make it possible for all workers to join unions to ensure a just and fair economy.
  3. Fight for everyone’s right to vote freely, safely, and without impediment to win in November and lay the foundation for a true, multi-racial democracy. To rebuild our nation, we must restore the effectiveness of government and rebuild public confidence in it -- and we must win up and down the ballot in November. We will execute comprehensive campaigns to ensure voters of all races, in every ZIP code, can vote freely, safely, and easily by mail and in person. We will combat voter purges, fraudulent, fear-mongering messaging, and closures of polling locations in communities of color. We will inspire members and infrequent votes of color to turn out to vote for racial, economic, healthcare, immigrant, and climate justice. We will expand democracy by winning immigration reform and a path to citizenship for 10 million undocumented immigrants. And we will impact redistricting in 2021 to end racist and partisan gerrymandering that has systematically disenfranchised communities of color. 
  4. Empower every member leader, and ensure every member is connected as we create new spaces to grow our movement. We will increase our use of digital tools and our creativity to reach and move members and workers. We will equip members with the tools to organize their coworkers and communities, invest in creating new, online spaces for our movement, and continue to innovate new ways to lift up worker voices. Every member will have a digital avenue to engage, and every non-member will have a digital way to join. In the face of unrelenting attacks from anti-worker organizations, we will recruit new hires and non-members to keep our union strong.  We will emerge from this crisis a more sustainable and dynamic organization to fight for our vision of a just society.   

We commit to drive the fight to win Unions for All, so that every worker can join a union no matter where they work; to build a multi-racial democracy in which everyone can participate, no matter where they are from or what color they are; and to build a leader-rich, anti-racist SEIU, driven by a new generation of worker leaders united in strong local unions. Through these core commitments, we will build power in states and provinces that leads to power on the national level to win justice for all in the years ahead: racial justice, economic justice, healthcare justice, immigration justice, and climate justice. 

In this moment as always, SEIU members and working people united in the Fight for $15 and a Union know the power of joining together in a union. Through our unions we lift up our families and communities, grow our political power, and drive our fights for racial and economic justice to right wrongs we find in our workplaces, in our broader communities, and in our countries. Connecting all our fights makes us stronger. We will build and hold economic and political power in our unions to wage and win these justice fights, delivering on our vision of a just society for the next hundred years. We know that when we fight -- together -- we win. 

Updated Aug 08, 2020