Published: September 23, 2021

A blog post from SEIU 503 President Mike Powers:

At SEIU 503, our mission is to build a just and vibrant society where everyone is treated with dignity and respect, and where all people can provide for themselves and their families. In recent years our work has been increasingly intertwined with climate change, as we look to create the good union jobs of the future and protect our communities from climate impacts like wildfires, droughts, and heatwaves. Our union has been busy winning good contracts and making an impact in protecting our planet. In recognition of our work, I’ve been appointed to serve on the SEIU Climate and Environmental Justice Committee, representing the SEIU 503 members at the national level. 

Serving on the committee will allow SEIU 503 to directly engage in climate and jobs policy at the highest levels and better access resources to keep making wins here in communities across Oregon. This appointment is the result of the work of our members, especially our Climate Justice Committee and Co-Chairs Twila Jacobsen and Lois Yoshishige. They are putting in the work to make our union and our state more sustainable. If you’re interested in getting involved, meetings are open to all SEIU 503 members and you can click here for more information.

The last 2 years especially have shown us that all of us are vulnerable to the effects of climate change. We also know that low-income and rural communities are more heavily impacted, especially people of color. In tough times, our union has responded by providing assistance for SEIU 503 members impacted by natural disasters. We will continue to support each other when in need, and will redouble our efforts to help prevent these events from devastating our communities.

No matter what we look like or where we live, we have been impacted by the increased frequency and severity of weather events. And the pivot from fossil fuels needs to be centered on the people who are most impacted. We want to engage with our rural and low-income members to make sure that the transition to a sustainable future means good jobs, help for families, and support for our communities. Being appointed to the SEIU Climate and Environmental Justice Committee is an opportunity for all of us – Black, white, and brown; rural and urban – to work together towards an Oregon where our families can survive and thrive for generations to come. We’re all in this together.