Take Heart – A Message to 1199SEIU members From President George Gresham About the ElectionNovember 10, 2016
Dear 1199 Members,
Over the past year, we poured our hearts and souls into advancing the 1199SEIU Action Platform – good jobs, economic justice, quality healthcare for all, rights, democracy and a healthy planet – and the candidates who would champion it, including our choice for president Hillary Clinton.
Now that the results of the election are in, it’s hard to overstate the dangers posed by a Trump presidency. Extreme right-wing politicians will control all branches of government - the White House, Senate, Congress and Supreme Court - for years to come. All of our most important priorities will be under attack, including the Affordable Care Act, a higher federal minimum wage, immigration reform, justice system reform and solving climate change. The Supreme Court, National Labor Relations Board and Department of Labor will all be controlled by anti-worker appointees, and will most likely hand down many decisions that will hurt our members, other unions and working people throughout the country.
But even at this moment, there are reasons to be hopeful and to recommit ourselves to standing together for the issues that we care about most:
• First, Donald Trump did not win the popular vote, Hillary Clinton did. 1199SEIU members knocked on hundreds of thousands of voters’ doors, helping to get out the vote in swing states. We should all be very proud of our hard work. The fact that Hillary won more votes overall shows that Trump does not have a mandate for his right-wing agenda.
• Second, the majority of Americans agree with the social justice values that 1199 stands for. Most people throughout the country want equal pay for women, clean energy, debt-free college, the right to join a union, a higher minimum wage and affordable healthcare. Even though Trump will be in the White House, there will be many opportunities to organize at the grassroots for these issues.
• Third, Trump was able to get elected because he stoked people’s basest fears and played on our divisions, but overall the United States is becoming a more diverse, inclusive and progressive country. Because of the demographic shifts happening in our nation, we will have a very good chance of defeating Trump in four years, and electing progressive candidates in the long term.
• And finally, 1199 has always been at the forefront of building a movement for social and economic justice no matter who is in office. We have made real progress for working people through both Republican and Democratic administrations.
Now, it is time for 1199ers to pick ourselves up, take heart, and start to plan the way forward for our patients, jobs, families and communities. We know that it’s hard to think about next steps when we’re still reeling from the disturbing reality of a Trump presidency. But every challenge presents opportunities, and now we must move together into a mode of looking for ways to build an alternative to Trump’s message of hate.
Most importantly, every single member of 1199 needs to get involved in our union so we can build our strength and make our voices heard. In the coming months, we will reach out with ways that we can work in coalition with progressive organizations to fight back against the right wing agenda, and advance our vision for a more just, fair and compassionate society.
In Unity & Strength,
1199SEIU President George Gresham