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SEIU President Mary Kay Henry Launches 'Unions for All' Push

Published Thursday, August 22, 2019
by Bill Glauber/The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
SEIU President Mary Kay Henry Launches 'Unions for All' Push

(MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN) – National Service Employees International Union (SEIU) President Mary Kay Henry has unveiled an ambitious "Unions for All" proposal - and Democratic Presidential Candidates had better take notice.

The two million-Member Union's endorsement is up for grabs and contingent on a candidate backing the proposal that aims to overhaul the Nation's Labor Laws and give Workers easier access to joining a Union.

Henry outlined the initiative in a speech to SEIU Members and other workers at Turner Hall Ballroom in Milwaukee, which is just down the street from Fiserv Forum, the main venue of the 2020 Democratic National Convention.

"We think Working People all across this country are going to want to hear from Democratic Leaders on how they'll drive the change we need," Henry said in an interview with The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.  "Milwaukee matters in terms of who needs to show up and vote in the election.  Milwaukee knows the important tradition of Unions.  There is a history of Unionizing in Milwaukee and Wisconsin."

Henry acknowledged Labor setbacks in the State under former Republican Governor Scott Walker, who implemented Act 10 and signed Right-To-Work (for less) Legislation, but she held up a Labor Agreement at Fiserv Forum as a model - with the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Milwaukee Bucks requiring contractors to pay their Workers a minimum of $12.50 an hour, increasing to $15 by 2023.

Peter Rickman, the President of the Milwaukee Area Service and Hospitality Workers Organization, said: "The model here is that no matter who the employer is, Workers in the Deer District not only have a Minimum Wage closer to a Living Wage, but that they can join a Union and bargain a contract."

According to Henry, the "Unions for All" proposal is based on four principles beginning with a push for industry-wide bargaining to negotiate wages, benefits and working conditions nationwide.

For instance, she said the next President should "convene McDonald's, Burger King" and other major Fast-Food Chains "to negotiate better wages and working conditions."

She said the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) "should be a floor, not a ceiling, so that cities and states can innovate."

The third principle is to ensure "that every public dollar is used to create good, Union Jobs and that every Federal Worker and contractor makes at least $15 an hour and has the opportunity to join a Union."

And the fourth principle is to put "good Union Jobs at the center of any major economic proposal."

Henry said it is "important that we demand more and push the imagination of the presidential field."  "When you allow more Unions for Working People, everybody benefits, not just Union Members.  So it's a good economic stimulus program to kick stagnant wages in the butt and get wages rising for everybody in this country," she said.

To Directly Access This Labor News Report, Go To: www.jsonline.com/story/news/politics/elections/2019/08/21/seiu-president-mary-kay-henry-launch-unions-all-milwaukee/2054262001/ And For More On The SEIU’s Unions For All Push, Go To: http://www.seiu.org/

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