SEIU 503 members have recently been contacted by the Freedom Foundation (Opt Out Today) with misleading messages about our union’s position on racial justice and police. We appreciate you taking the time to research these issues. Instead of taking the statements of an anti-union group at face value, you can see the real story here.
The SEIU 503 Board voted in June to stand in solidarity with black-led organizations in Oregon and support their demands for racial and economic justice. We made this commitment to help address long-standing economic inequities and a criminal justice system that over-criminalizes the Black community. Please read our board statement and commitment here.
The Freedom Foundation’s references to “defund the police” come from an email sent by Our Oregon. SEIU 503 is a partner of Our Oregon, a coalition that has done so much for our members and our Union, including fighting anti-worker ballot measures, defending pro-worker ballot measures, demanding corporate accountability, and advocating for legislation that supports working families across our state. Our financial support of Our Oregon has been as part of campaigns to make sure corporations pay their fair share, supporting funding public services, and stopping anti-worker, anti-immigrant, and anti-democracy ballot initiatives. The characterization of Our Oregon in the Freedom Foundation’s materials is completely misleading.
Our union has also come under attack for a group called “SEIU Drop The Cops.” This is a facebook group run by activists outside our organization. Another mischaracterization.
If you’ve received anything from Opt Out Today, please check your sources. The Freedom Foundation does not accurately define Our Oregon’s program or what they do, and its claims are completely out of context.
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Our opponents are using this moment to try to divide us, but we believe the conversation about changes in our community needs to be deeper than slogans. In order to make real changes for Black communities, we must continue the conversation past buzzwords.
SEIU 503 has always been committed to creating a just society for all people — Black, white, and brown — and our Union’s racial justice work is a recognition that not every member of our Union can move through our communities without fearing for their lives. Being stronger together means we won’t leave people behind. That’s why we know that we can’t have economic justice without racial justice.