On April 28, member leaders from around the local came together in Fairfield to share best practices for recruiting and engaging their coworkers. They discussed techniques to share their personal stories with their coworkers so they remain committed to each other and their fight for secure jobs and livable wages — no matter what the court rules in Janus vs. AFSCME. This is the upcoming Supreme Court case that could undermine our union by restricting our ability to collect dues or “agency fees” from all workers covered by and, and benefitting from our contracts.
Julia Rapkin, working in County of Sonoma Information Systems Department, came to the training to share how having a strong organization resulted in victory.
“In Sonoma County, we went on strike and demonstrated at Board events. As a result we won 3% COLAs for two years and significant increase in our employer’s contribution to health care. We may not have much power as individuals, but our collective labor power is tremendous when we use it.” When explaining to her coworkers why they must choose to remain in the union and pay dues Rapkin is able to point out, “Let’s stick together, not just to defend what we have now but to improve our lives for the future.”
Taffie Walter, a Chief Psychiatric Technician at San Joaquin County General Hospital, expressed a similar sentiment about her conversations with co-workers.
“During our most recent contract fight, we needed a 5% wage increase for employees working 24-hour services at the hospital. I wanted everybody to understand that we had to fight together to get what we need, and we would fail if we go at it separately. I advocated and organized people to become members to make sure they got out and voted.”