By Mike Powers
To my Union family,
In September SEIU 503 members from around Oregon voted to make me the next President of our Union. Thank you. I am excited and humbled. I am already working with members and staff to build on our successes for working families and face the challenges ahead.
Today we live in challenging, extraordinary, and fearful times. We see the highest wealth inequality since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Black and brown Americans live in fear of extremist and government violence. Our immigrants are under attack. Many rural Americans feel forgotten, ignored, and ridiculed. Corporations make lots and lots of money while front line workers either lose their jobs, or work where they can easily catch COVID-19. They often lack the basics to take care of their families. The right to join a union is threatened, and fighting for one can get you fired.
Just in the past week, we saw the ups of a big win for the diversity, prosperity, and freedom of our great nation in the Georgia elections. This was not about partisan politics. This was about rejecting politicians who stood with big corporations and the very rich, and turning out for leaders who support working families. This was about health care, jobs, infrastructure, education, access to unions, COVID support, and more.
Then we saw the great low of violent protestors attacking our elected officials in Washington. Many of them believe in the lie that the Presidential election was stolen. This is perhaps the greatest display of the divisive and challenging times in which we live.
It will not be politicians who will bridge the divide. It will be us. Our Union. It will be our diversity that is our strength. It will be our hard work and our commitment to our jobs, families, and communities. It will be our ability to listen to each other, respect each other, and work together – no matter what we look like or where we live. It will be standing together and telling politicians what we want them to do
I know the union difference for me and my family. It’s why I’m here. I am ready to work harder than I ever have to work with you and for you to strengthen the union difference for all of us, and to bring the union difference to more Oregonians. Together will protect and increase the value of our hard work, be a force for equity and fairness, and be a bridge that we need today.
President, SEIU 503