Women and people of color energize seiu - Les femmes et personnes de couleur dynamise SEIU
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Women and people of color energize seiu - Les femmes et personnes de couleur dynamise SEIU

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As the new global economy was taking hold, the service-sector workers joining SEIU included tens of thousands of women and people of color working in sectors such as building maintenance, security, ...

As the new global economy was taking hold, the service-sector workers joining SEIU included tens of thousands of women and people of color working in sectors such as building maintenance, security, home healthcare, and family child care. Between 1996 and 2004, for example, 900,000 new workers joined SEIU, and a majority of them were women and workers of color.

Alors que l'économie globale était en péril, les travailleurs des services publics qui ont rejoint SEIU incluaient des dizaines de milliers de femmes et de personnes de couleurs travaillant dans des secteurs tels que l'entretien d'immeubles, la sécurité, les soins à domicile, et les services d'aides familliales. Entre 1996 et 2004, par exemple, 900 000 nouveaux travailleurs ont rejoint SEIU, et une majorité était des femmes et des personnes de couleur.

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Women and people of color energize seiu - Les femmes et personnes de couleur dynamise SEIU Women and people of color energize seiu - Les femmes et personnes de couleur dynamise SEIU Document Transcript

  • Women And People Of Color Energize SEIU When Andy Stern and his leadership team began their SEIU had been successful in organizing workers in the his-push in 1996 to diversify the union’s leadership, they often torically anti-union South in part because “of a willingnesswould tell audiences that, for too long, the labor movement to hire organizers of color and develop rank-and- le lead-had been “too male, too pale, and too stale.” It would draw ers of color...and to build relationships with communitya knowing laugh from the audience, but everyone knew it groups and clergy in the African American, Haitian, andwas no laughing matter. Hispanic community.” As the new global economy By 2004, when delegateswas taking hold, the service-sector met for the union’s Internationalworkers joining SEIU included Convention in San Francisco, thetens of thousands of women and union’s Committee on Social andpeople of color working in sectors Economic Justice could reportsuch as building maintenance, se- that SEIU “has the most diversecurity, home healthcare, and fam- leadership team and sta in theily child care. Between 1996 and labor movement.” But, the com-2004, for example, 900,000 new mittee said, more work was need-workers joined SEIU, and a majority of them were women ed, including training and education programs that wouldand workers of color. ensure diversity at all levels of the union and help to create By uniting with SEIU, these workers—often the “last a new pool of leadership talent.hired, rst red” in the workforce—were able to make SEIU Executive Vice President Gerry Hudson, writinggains for themselves and their families and communities. in 2005 on the subject of “Rebuilding the Union Move- e African American, and mostly male, security o cers ment to Empower Communities of Color,” said SEIU hadwho joined SEIU in Los Angeles and other cities won adopted “a conscious policy” to include women and peoplebetter wages and bene ts, as did home care and janitorial of color in its top leadership positions. As a result, he said,workers in communities of color in Los Angeles, Chicago, “SEIU’s International Executive Board today is 40 percentand New York City. It was estimated, for instance, that female and 33 percent people of color.” And, he said, itSEIU’s Justice for Janitors campaign, by raising wages and was “no accident” that the union’s ability to connect withstandards for that workforce, had pumped more than $100 women and workers of color was coming at a time whenmillion into L.A.’s Latino community. the union had strengthened its commitment to developing e challenge was to make sure that the union’s lead- a diverse leadership team.ership re ected this fast-growing and ever-diverse member- In the following years, that work continued. As Hud-ship. One way was to recruit and hire organizers of color. son noted, SEIU had made signi cant progress in movingAs Cornell University’s Kate Bronfenbrenner noted in her away from the “too male, too pale, and too stale” labor2005 New Labor Forum article “Labor’s True Purpose,” movement of the past, but there was work still to be done.