Celebrating our Victories on Labor Day

Labor Day usually means picnics, BBQs, time with friends and family, and getting ready for school. This year is very different in many ways, but that gives us a chance to reflect on the importance of the work we do for our communities, and our ability to come together as a Union to advocate for ourselves and make a better life.

It’s been a tough year but over the past months we have shown when we come together as Black, brown and white workers we can demand and win change. SEIU 49 healthcare workers, janitors and security officers have risen to the challenge of this time by providing essential services and by keeping our communities safe, healthy and clean.

Our communities and employers depend on us now more than ever. We’ve been able to gain some of the respect we deserve, but we need more than banners and empty praises. We will keep fighting for stronger protections and economic security–but we also have some victories we should celebrate this labor day:

We increased our workplace strength as union members:

  • Janitors won raises and additional sick days, and protected affordable healthcare benefits.

  • Planned Parenthood healthcare workers won strong raises, better staffing, continuing education, scheduling flexibility and more.

  • In workplaces across the Northwest, we demanded and won many COVID protections including PPE; paid time off for quarantine- and COVID-related illness; medical costs for COVID paid at 100%; childcare subsidies; and most recently, a hazard pay bonus for PeaceHealth healthcare workers of up to $1000!

We used our community and political strength to protect working families: 

  • We passed laws that make evictions and foreclosures illegal during the pandemic.

  • We required hospitals to include Union members in PPE Safety Committees.

  • We made unemployment and workers’ compensation a little better.

  • We stood with the Movement for Black Lives to increase police accountability.

I am ready to double down on my efforts to make sure that respect for #EssentialWorkers and #Heroes are not just hashtags and temporary slogans. SEIU 49 members should be treated as heroes everyday and get the pay, benefits and protection that goes along with being a hero.

In order to win lasting change our voices need to be heard at work and on the ballot. The November 3 election will determine whether working people continue to have the right to unite in strong Unions…or if we will see a race-to-the bottom for workplace standards as rich corporations make even more profits.

Will you join me and in making a commitment to keep our Union strong for many Labor Days to come and help get out the vote in support of working families this November? Sign up here to get involved in our #MyVoteIsEssential campaign.

It’s important we stay in touch and united during this time. If you need to contact someone at our Union office you can reach our Member Resources Centers by phone, email and text at:

In Unity,

Meg Niemi, President
SEIU Local 49

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