Members at SF General’s Behavioral Health Center are showing their union pride and their unity by “purpling up” every Wednesday
Workers at the Behavioral Health Center at San Francisco General Hospital are showcasing their union pride at work! Ever since the Save the ARF campaign nearly two years ago, these members come to work wearing purple every Wednesday to demonstrate their unity and commitment to working together as a union.
“We wanted to find a way that we could visibly remind management that SEIU 1021 was present in the workplace because workers like us are the union. Since purple is the color of our union and Wednesday is the day we have the most people physically present at the same time, we thought having everyone come to work wearing purple that day made sense,” says Connie Truong, a union steward and Activity Leader at the Mental Health Rehabilitation Center in the BHC.
“It was hard at first because people would forget and we’d have to remind people, and at times that was sometimes discouraging. We didn’t always have a really strong union presence where I work. Now, doing things like Purple Wednesday has helped us build awareness and excitement about our union. People are proud and excited to showcase our unity. I’ll go to different floors and folks are giving each other high fives and fist bumps to celebrate the fact that we’re all wearing our purple. The only way we can change the culture at work and build our strength and power is to come together and get people active, involved, and excited about our union,” Connie says.
Encouraging people to participate in Purple Wednesday was also a way for her to build relationships with her coworkers as a union steward.
“If I want to change the culture at work and get people excited about and involved in the union, I knew I had to lead by example. Purple Wednesday is part of that, but it also lets me build trust and relationships with my coworkers, which is so important to maintaining our unity. I always make sure that I follow up with members and keep my promises and commitments to coworkers so they can be confident that I have their backs and will stand up to management to fight for their rights. We have to hold management accountable to ensure they follow and honor all contracts. My approach is to develop other leaders and help other members take ownership of the work of our union, and Purple Wednesday is part of that,” Connie said.
Connie added, “I would definitely encourage other SEIU members to do something similar but also don’t give up or get discouraged if it doesn’t catch on right away. It took us some time to get everyone to remember and get involved.”