Collage of Local 853 members

Despite progress, new pandemic threat imperils recovery

Our local has made great progress over the last few months on renewed contracts. Some have come easily, others were not so easy, but all include improvements in wages, covered costs for healthcare, and where applicable, pension increases.

Most of our members who were adversely affected by the COVID pandemic are back to work and business seems to be picking up.  However, we are now faced with a new threat: the Delta variant; which is causing infection rates to again increase, pushing many unvaccinated people back into hospitals, and forcing the rest of us to again have to wear masks in some workplaces and inside locations.

While our union protects all of our members, at some point we have to be aware of the science and the facts. I believe it is necessary for all of our members to be vaccinated. I realize that in many ways, this is a no-win position to take, but I have never played politics with what I think is good for our membership, whether it was popular or not. The vast majority of our members are vaccinated, and they believe everyone should be, for everyone’s safety. The members who have religious or health reasons are exempt, and that is both understandable and backed by the courts.

However, that leaves a group of our members who, for their own reasons, choose not to take advantage of the protections. There have been court challenges in both the public and private sector, and all the cases have come to the same conclusion: government entities and private employers can require vaccinations. However, it is a mandatory subject of bargaining and we can, have, and will, deal with the consequences of these requirements should they occur in your workplace. But, just to be clear, it is in your best interest and the interests of your fellow employees, their kids, and grandkids, to GET VACCINATED!

As you are likely aware, another recall election is being held soon in our state. This recall is bad for workers and is especially bad for union-represented workers…this means you! The Newsom administration has worked closely with unions to formulate more protections and better laws while having our backs during the pandemic by protecting essential workers. The administration has helped with extra sick leave, workers’ compensation if you got the virus and many other areas where we have progressed.  Big business and right-wing zealots are forcing this recall, costing the state hundreds of millions of dollars, just to remove someone who certainly isn’t perfect, certainly has made mistakes, but who is the best person for us to be Governor. WHEN YOU GET YOUR BALLOT, PLEASE VOTE NO ON THE RECALL.

Shop Stewards should save Saturday, October 2, 2021, for our Shop Steward’s seminar, which will be held at the Oakland Marriott this year.  Notices will be sent with the times and dates for the seminar. Have a good rest of the summer.

Author: Local 853

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