This Labor Day is going to be a little different
Labor Day is right around the corner. Normally I spend the day with my husband and children. We visit the cookouts of family and friends and soak up the last days of summer. This year is different. This year I’m confronting the politicians and corporations who have rigged the system against working people. This Labor Day I am standing with my fellow workers, some union members and some not, to fight for our nation’s future.
Nearly 17,000 faculty and grad workers have formed unions with SEIU in the past four years. We are proving, once again, that unions work. For example:
- 63% of the SEIU Faculty Forward first contracts include pay raises of at least 20% for the lowest-paid faculty.
- 70% of new SEIU Faculty Forward contracts include professional development programs worth over $550,000.
Numbers like these prove why it is so crucial to make sure we have our union. We can show administrators, not just at our own schools, but nationwide that we are committed to changing the corporatized higher education system that has marginalized contingent and adjunct faculty for decades. It’s also important because it shows our students who will be joining the workforce soon that they don’t have to endure unfair workplace conditions and there is a way that they can gain a voice and power.
Being a part of a campaign to start our union with my colleagues has changed my life and I am not alone. I’ve been able to affect not only my workplace but my community and my home. My children have learned how to speak up for themselves as they watched me fight to change my unfair working conditions. I’ve become a more active member in my community and even inspired my neighbors and my mother to attend their first protests!
Being involved in our union is so important because it shifts the balance of power back in the favor of workers like us, which brings about positive changes for everyone. This Labor Day you can have fun, but don’t forget about the role unions play in empowering Americans just like us.
About the Author
Cheryl DeFlavis is an adjunct professor in sociology at Hillsborough Community College and Pasco-Hernando State College in the Tampa Bay area of Florida.