It has been an exciting year of change and growth for Local 509. With a series of organizing and policy wins, we have emerged stronger than ever.
Over the past 12 months, we witnessed victories spanning across all sectors. State workers prevented sweeping health insurance changes at the Group Insurance Commission. Our higher education chapter made history by welcoming Tufts and Brandeis students to our union as the second and third graduate worker units in the nation. Our private sector chapter fought back against executives at Triangle, where workers organizing to join Local 509 were fired by the agency. And at CLASS Inc., our members held the longest strike in our union’s history to demand a fair contract
Our instinctive fight for the greater good extended beyond the worksite and union office. This year marked unprecedented legislative wins for the Commonwealth, including a $15 minimum wage and guaranteed paid family leave. The Local 509 Racial Justice Task Force held its inaugural Racial Justice Leadership Conference, which took a deeper dive into why racial justice is crucial to the labor movement’s success. This union has – and always will be – committed to securing economic and social justice for all.
While we thrived like never before, we also withstood direct threats. We saw this firsthand in June, when the Janus Supreme Court decision challenged our right to join collectively as one voice. But our membership was undaunted. In the days and weeks following the decision, 509 members recommitted and reaffirmed their strength in our union.
In this post-Janus world, we remain in uncharted political territory. Maintaining business as usual endangers our movement, and we cannot be afraid to change the status quo and take on bold challenges. The threats to labor will not end, but we have the power to fight back.
With your help, we need to find new approaches to engage our members during a time when our workforce is changing. The labor movement was founded upon an activist spirit, and our members must reignite that spirit at the ballot box, on the streets, and in our workplaces. We must hold politicians accountable for their promises to working people and to our communities. And we cannot and will not support a politician simply because of their political party.
We’ve pushed hard to make 509 a high-functioning, highly successful union. We push for such things because you – our membership – demands and deserves it.
As we look to the year ahead, your Chapter Leaders are gearing up for legislative fights and campaigns that we know will end in victory.
This great union belongs to all of us. We encourage each and every one of you to join us in charting its future. We are our strong because of you.
Together, let’s move forward to even greater heights in 2019.
SEIU 509 President
SEIU 509 Treasurer