When we fight, we win!

Life after Friedrichs: Organizing to build internal strength


By Leonard Smith, Director of Organizing and Strategic Campaigns

A case argued before the U.S. Supreme Court this year had the potential to significantly weaken the collective bargaining rights of workers in public sector unions. In Friedrichs vs. California Teachers Association, the Court was projected to vote 5 to 4 to undermine workers and their unions.

After the unexpected passing of Justice Antonin Scalia, the Court split 4-4, effectively delaying the blow to collective bargaining.

This is good news, but more than two dozen similar cases are working their way through the lower courts.

The threat to public sector unions is real. Whether it be a bad court ruling or attacks from outside groups, we must be prepared.

Building a strong union starts by increasing member involvement at the grassroots level. That's why Membership and Staff Development Coordinator Karen Estevenin developed our Every Voice Counts program. This program builds strength through member engagement.

As union membership has fallen nationally, Local 117 has remained strong. Through organizing and member engagement, we have brought new workers into the labor movement.

We know these threats aren't going away. The Every Voice Counts project gives members the framework to discuss union-based solutions at work.

At King County you have the ability to build union strength. Please speak with your co-workers about ways you can solve issues through collective action. Talk with new staff about the importance of having a union. Encourage them to get involved.

We are only as strong as our solidarity allows. We have a plan to thrive in the face of anti-union attacks, but it starts with you.

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