The nation’s four public service unions are working together to fight for worker rights and freedoms – and the corporations, billionaires and anti-worker lawmakers seeking to undermine the labor movement will lose, Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), vowed Thursday.
“Members of your union have joined forces with SEIU, AFT, NEA, and the entire movement. Together, we are reaching out to co-workers across our unions so millions more can recommit to sticking with their union,” she told delegates to the AFSCME 43rd International Convention, referring to the American Federation and Teachers and the National Education Association.
“Corporations think that they can use court decisions to keep millions of underpaid service, care, and education workers shut out of unions,” Henry added. “We won’t let them. AFSCME, AFT, NEA, and SEIU are determined to link arms like the Americans who came before us did to build unions and win civil rights.”
In a post-Janus case era, the four unions face the common challenge of building power in a national right-to-work scenario in the public sector. But the struggle is not new. Right-wing and anti-worker forces have been trying to divide workers for more than 30 years, Henry said.
“They attacked public education and public services,” said Henry, the first woman to lead SEIU. “They made it harder for public employees to deliver quality services to your communities. They attacked unions. They made it harder for working people to organize. And that made it harder for working people to balance against the power and influence that corporations hold over our economy and democracy.”