Thanks to SEIU 503 member leaders and delegates for making this year’s first ever hybrid General Council so successful! The three-day event, held in Portland, allowed members the opportunity to participate in person or virtually. It was an incredible opportunity to see so many familiar and new faces (in the flesh and on Zoom) and we look forward to doing it all again in two years.
General Council is our union’s “Supreme Governing” body as outlined in our bylaws where elected leaders from throughout our union gather to make key decisions about our union’s priorities over the next couple of years and update our by-laws to reflect our growing union. Only through a vote of the General Council can our union change our by-laws, which makes us unique among unions in the country. This year, we passed 21 resolutions, some streamlining our process and others creating policy for our union. Highlights include:
- Adding seats to the Board of Directors. Our homecare and personal support workers are our largest industry group and have more members than state workers but were unrepresented on the Board of Directors. By a 2/3 vote the General Council added seats to make sure our largest industry groups have equitable voices on the board.
- Our members prioritized making sure we are approaching bargaining with an equity lens, ensuring that bargaining teams take into account the potential impacts of bargaining proposals on workers from traditionally marginalized communities.
- SEIU 503 members reaffirmed and strengthened our commitment to climate justice. Resolutions were adopted to continue and expand our legislative advocacy around climate, assess and reduce our union’s carbon footprint, and demand transparency and accountability in Oregon Treasury investments.
- There was an overall focus on long-term care workers, including homecare, nursing home and community-based care workers. A resolution was passed to focus on organizing community-based care workers and making sure they have access to a union and also looking into how private equity is profiting off caregiving at the expense of consumers and workers.
- Members passed a resolution that focuses on lifting up health care workers as we come out of the pandemic, demanding that employers Respect Us, Protect Us, Pay Us, and Staff Us!
- A resolution passed that continues and enhances our work in our union to have ensure language justice, ensuring that every member, no matter what language they speak, can engage fully in our union.
The final resolutions will be updated online by the end of August.