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🎉 “Welcome to 2020!”, by Ron Ruggiero

Dear SEIU 105 Members,

As your President, I wanted to welcome each and every one of you to 2020! I hope you were able to enjoy the holidays with friends and family and spend meaningful time with them.

Before we look forward to 2020, it’s important we take stock of all that we accomplished together in 2019. We had a breakthrough year:

  • By organizing over 550 new members in passenger services at Denver International Airport, for the first time in our history SEIU 105 now represents over 8,000 workers strong;
  • At Kaiser Permanente, standing united in the Coalition of Kaiser Unions of 85,000 strong, our members organized to be ready to go on strike in the toughest negotiations we’ve had in over 20 years. We stood toe to toe with an $80 billion company and won a great contract that defeated two-tier benefit systems, won new protections against outsourcing and contracting out, and won good annual cost-of-living raises. Compared to what other unions had agreed to before us—this contract is worth $30 million more to our members over the four years; 
  • We won a first-ever minimum wage—and an increase of $1.50 per hour–for over 20,000 homecare providers across Colorado through action in the Colorado legislature and partnering with Colorado Care Workers United (CCWU);
  • We helped elect a pro-worker Denver City Council and new pro-worker candidates to the Aurora City Council;
  • We led efforts that began in 2013 with the Fight for $15, for the Denver City Council to raise all airport workers’ wages to $15 in 2021 and a minimum wage increase for all Denver workers to $15.87 by 2022. This lifts all working people’s wages;
  • We had more major bargaining wins across our union: At Mental Health Center of Denver (MHCD) we won good raises in their wage re-opener, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (PPRM) we negotiated their first-ever union contract, and our 2,500 janitors won new raises because of the minimum wage increase in Denver. 

And, those are just the highlights. What impressed me the most about 2019 was the solidarity across our union. Members from across our union showed up for one another’s fights. This unity makes our union stronger and helps everyone win more. We proved that no matter where we come from, what zip code we live in, or what the color of our skin–when we unite, we win more economic and racial justice for everyone. 

This New Year has a lot at stake too. I hope you’re as excited as I am about what lays ahead:

  • Our contract for over 2,500 janitors downtown and across Denver Metro expires on July 5, 2020. Already those members are organizing for what promises to be an epic fight for a good new contract;
  • Over 1,000 members at the Airport will be bargaining their union contracts and are also already getting ready to fight;
  • Our MHCD members re-negotiate their full contract this year and are ready to stand strong;
  • Our Kaiser members are standing strong to make the Partnership real by insisting on enough staff, a fair PSP bonus, and many other issues;
  • The elections in 2020 will be extremely important with many important candidates and issues on the ballot to working families and union members. We urge all of our members to register to vote NOW and encourage your family members to do so too!
  • We will continue to build our power in our three main areas of focus:
    • Worksite Power—recruiting and training more Stewards and Communication Action Team (CAT) members so we can represent our members well, organize on workplace issues, and win great contracts;
    • Industry Power—growing our union by organizing new workers. As more workers in our industries are in our union, we can better raise standards on wages and working conditions for everyone;
    • Political and Community Power—electing more pro-worker candidates and building stronger partnerships with community allies because politics affects everything in our lives at work and in our communities.

As you can see, we have a lot of work to do in 2020. Since our members make all the difference in our ability to win, I hope you’ll get involved. We’ll never have as much money as the other side has—but we have the power of solidarity as workers come together and take collective action to win. This power is how we can teach every boss everywhere one simple lesson: You Don’t Mess with 105!

In Unity,

Ron Ruggiero
President, SEIU Local 105

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