Happy Labor Day


Happy Labor Day

Happy Labor Day! I am so glad you are part of our union. Labor Day gives us a chance to reflect on the importance of the work we do and that the pandemic has shown the world what we already knew—WE ARE ESSENTIAL.

Over the challenging past three years, we have shown when we come together as Black, Brown, and white workers we can demand and win change. SEIU 49 healthcare workers, janitors, airport workers and security officers have not only provided essential services and kept our communities safe, healthy and clean, we have had a strong rallying cry that it’s time for employers to Respect Us, Protect Us, and Pay Us.

As Local 49 celebrates a hundred years of accomplishments this Labor Day, we know that we will keep fighting for stronger protections and economic security; we will stand up for racial and healthcare justice; and we will continue to push hard to bring improve our workplaces and our communities.

This Labor Day let’s take a minute to celebrate our victories throughout our union.

We increased our workplace strength as union members ––

  • Legacy workers won top priorities to bring healthcare justice, economic justice, and racial justice to frontline workers. After 75 years, we have a common wage scale and contract expiration.
  • We united across Samaritan to raise staffing and safety standards, improve healthcare for patients and employees, increase wages, and expand education funding.
  • At McKenzie-Willamette Medical Center we took bold action with two strikes to raise standards around staffing and wages, improve access to healthcare, and receive pandemic protections.
  • We took action at Providence Milwaukie Hospital to win a ground-breaking first contract showing Providence workers everywhere that we can win big when we are united for the respect our union deserves.
  • Security officers won a contract that secures raises, more paid time off, and improves working conditions around scheduling, safety, and training.
  • Our janitors won a contract with the highest wage increases in recent history, protects healthcare benefits, COVID protections, workload and immigration improvements, and access to a green training and education fund.

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

  • In Oregon, we passed legislation that expanded healthcare to cover all people regardless of immigration status.
  • We unfroze the City of Portland fair wage policy for janitors and security officers increasing wages.
  • We stopped indefinite suspension of nurse staffing plans during emergencies and limited suspension to 90 days.
  • We took bold action at Portland International Airport with a demand for Good Jobs, Good Airports and moved legislation forward to support this in Washington DC.
  • In Washington, we ended no-cause evictions creating more housing security.

Let’s celebrate today for Labor Day but…Get ready to keep up the fight for fair wages, good benefits, and respect on the job.

We are bargaining at PeaceHealth and getting started at Kaiser, we have upcoming elections on November 8 that 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 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 for text messages 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:

  • Janitors/Security/Laundry: mrc@seiu49.org or call or text 503-964-5311
  • Healthcare and Hospitals: hcmrc@seiu49.org or call or text 971-314-4550
  • Kaiser: kaisermrc@seiu49.org or call 503-782-6228


In Unity,
Meg Niemi,
President of SEIU Local 49

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