A record number of 32BJ activists in 8 states and DC helped us win big victories on Election Day. The American Dream Fund makes all our political work possible. Many ADF contributors recruited their co-workers to join them in donating to our political action program this year. Here, a few top ADF recruiters talk about their experiences taking political action with the union and share what ADF means to them.
Maurice Thomas, Maintenance Worker, Washington DC
Maurice has been a union member for 30 years, 23 of which he’s spent working at the Department of Justice in Washington DC. He was leading a lunchtime Bible study group at his worksite when his coworkers asked him to represent them in the union.
At first, my coworkers were not too sure about ADF. What helped them to understand the importance of it was when we related it to our families. When I think about the American Dream Fund I think about the American dream. All of us want good jobs, to own a home and have security on the job. The way that ADF works is that we, as members, pay a small amount to contribute to the American Dream Fund that supports elected officials that support our issues. And it works. For example, in our building in Washington DC when a new contractor comes in they have to pick up the workers in our building because of the Displaced Workers Act that was passed into law and protects contractor jobs. After sharing that victory, my coworkers began to understand that this is very important to us.
Anna Dziubek, Cleaner, New York City
Anna’s political action with 32BJ started 6 years ago when she became a member. She’s a shop steward and in 2008 she was an MPO who went to Ohio to campaign for President Obama. This year she was very active in New York—where she phone banked and canvassed for President Obama’s re-election and worked to elect other candidates who support working families.
Because of the money we contribute we can elect leaders who care about our issues and working families. We can win strong contracts. We are pooling the strength of working families and the middle class to fight back against the power and political pressure of the wealthy. We’re supporting our goals: like the prevailing wage law and displaced workers law in New York. We are not fighting just for ourselves but we’re fighting for all working families. A lot of hard-working families have jobs that only pay minimum wage and you can’t live on 7.25 an hour in New York. We have to change the laws that hurt working families. We need elected leaders who will support us. We support them and they support us when we’re at the bargaining table. It’s important to keep supporting candidates like that for the next contract fight and the one after that.
Brodie (Jay) Etheridge, Porter, The Bronx
Jay became a shop steward for the union two years ago and, as he increased his activism on the job, he realized that it was also important for him to get involved in political action to elect officials who will support working people. Jay has also spread the word to other members about why political action is important.
I attend the rallies and I have done campaign volunteering. We need to get politicians elected who support the working class. We don’t want anybody to act against us or look to break us down– understanding that started to motivate me and other members. I’ve gotten others to do door-knocking, hand out flyers and go to rallies. I try to get the whole group that I’m a steward for to take action every day.
Yeny Nuñez, Cleaner, Danbury, Connecticut
Yeny has been a 32BJ member for four years and she was an MPO this year, helping to elect Chris Murphy to the U.S. Senate this year as well as supporting President Obama’s re-election and other candidates who support working families.
We’ve gotten a lot through our political action. It’s an investment in our future. With the American Dream Fund we have influence and we have a voice. We want paid sick days and holidays, better wages and immigration reform so we support politicians who will pass laws that help us and our families.
Anthony Faulk, Cleaner, Philadelphia
Anthony has worked as a cleaner at City Hall in Philadelphia for 17 years and been a union member for just as long. Anthony has been a union shop steward, a member political organizer and he is active in local Philly politics.
We need to elect politicians who will stand by us in the union and in our communities and who will support us in a contract fight. Politics is not just something that goes on outside the union. Our political work has an impact on us in the workplace so it’s something we need to do in the union too. This year we got the President re-elected and in Pennsylvania we got Democratic Senator Bob Casey re-elected and we elected our first female attorney general, Democrat Kathleen Kane.
This information about the SEIU Local 32BJ American Dream Fund is intended only for members of Local 32BJ and is not intended as a general solicitation to contribute to ADF. Only SEIU members, SEIU executive and administrative personnel, and their immediate family members living in the same household are eligible to contribute to ADF. SEIU Local 32BJ and ADF maintain and enforce a policy of refusing to accept contributions to ADF from any other source. ADF makes contributions and expenditures in federal, state and local elections. Contributions are voluntary, and a member may refuse to contribute without any reprisal. Federal law requires us to use our best efforts to collect and report the name, address, occupation and employer of any contributor of more than $200/yr. Contributions are not tax-deductible.