by Mike Powers
In our union, we believe in and fight for a just society: where all workers are valued and all people respected; where all families and communities can thrive; and where we leave a more just and equitable world for generations to come.
To achieve this vision, we must recognize that not all members of our union can move through our communities, navigate our workplaces or participate in our union in the same way. Systemic racism, ableism, anti-LGBTQ attitudes, ageism and other forms of oppression have a real impact on SEIU 503 members. Only by recognizing this truth, and taking action to correct it, can we build the future we want for ourselves, our families and our communities.
SEIU 503 members created a Code of Conduct to govern union meetings with the purpose of prohibiting exclusionary behavior. This week, our member-elected General Council passed a resolution to give our code teeth. The resolution, which passed with 91% support, will create a review, mediation and disciplinary process for violations of the Code of Conduct.
This resolution sends a clear signal that hate will not be tolerated in our union.
“Having the code of conduct and an enforcement process, gives me a great deal of hope that my union is heading in the right direction when it comes to racial justice and workers’ rights,” said DHS Compliance Specialist Carmen Morales Arnbrister. “Being in a union for me, it means that I can be myself, speak my language and engage with others without fear of discrimination, harassments, bullying or intimidation.”
SEIU’s former President Steve Demarest was also pleased to see this result. “Including Code of Conduct violations in the types of conduct subject to discipline will help make SEIU 503 a union for all the members we represent,” Steve said.
The General Council vote is a process that gives members the power to set the course of our union. We are a member-run union, and I am proud to see us taking this step forward.
If you’d like to read the resolution, the Board of Directors recommendation and pro/con statements submitted by General Council members, please click here.