Black Lives Matters

Bruce at BLM raly Due to the untimely and tragic deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, there has been more attention on race relations in this country, than it has been since the Civil Rights movement in the 50’s, 60’s and early 70’s. I am old enough to remember the atrocities the Black Race had to endure especially in the 60’s when we were fighting for equal rights. I was almost 12 years old when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated and I can recall the chaos that broke out in D.C. Chaos that we are still recuperating from to this very day. We have made some advancements since those times, but not enough. It appears that to some, especially law enforcement, that Black Lives do not matter. I am not advocating that all law enforcement fall into this category, but enough do to warrant a change in this area. The difference between today and earlier times is the fact that almost everyone has a cell phone that is capable of taking videos. We have long argued that Black People are treated differently by law enforcement. Unfortunately, what happened to George Floyd did not surprise many of us, but what it did, more importantly, was to bring this to the attention of our white brothers and sisters, not only in this country, but also around the world. It also has brought to the forefront the systemic racism that has existed in this country for centuries. This includes educational opportunities, job opportunities, housing opportunities, healthcare services, and basic humanitarian rights. The George Floyd murder has ignited a movement. A movement that includes all races and genders, all religions and beliefs, and people from all walks of life. I am not saying that this was not happening in the past, but this one seems a whole lot different.

People are fed up. They are fed up with the economic gap between the rich and the poor. One percent (1%) of the population controls about ninety percent (90%) of the wealth. Under this current president, the rich have gotten richer and the poor have gotten poorer. People are fed up with the healthcare system in this country. Many of us can not afford healthcare. People of color have a shorter life expectancy than our white counterparts. The above are just a few examples of the problems. What is encouraging is this movement has been ignited and that Unions are one of the ways to lessen the gap between the rich and the poor, and to help fix the healthcare crisis in the country, along with other issues that plague this great country. A Union is a family. A family that has come together to better it’s working conditions, standard of living and hours of employment. We have to stay united, because that is the only way to accomplish our goals. We all need to participate in this movement. Be on the lookout for ways that you can peacefully participate, and when the Unions take actions, Join In. Remember, Power concedes nothing without a fight.

Get out and Vote!!

Financial Crisis During Pandemic

While the economy is limping along thanks to the Coronavirus shutdown, this may be a strange thing to talk about; but it’s more important than ever to stay focused on your wealth-building dreams.

If you’re one of the many people who’ve recently lost hours thru “ATO”, I’m talking to you. I don’t know what your needs are right now; you may need to get scrappy, find part-time work, or even go into conserve mode.

Please know that this season won’t last forever. Find ways to keep moving forward, so you can put yourself in a much better position once things get back to normal.
Have you been taking advantage of your employers “401K”? Are you maximizing the matching benefits? Are you invested in any private retirement plans?

The American Dream is still alive, because the American Dream is made up of the people who work hard to make their goals a reality. It’s not an abstract concept. It’s not a handout from the government. The reality is you must decide to take hold of your plans, focus on what you can control, and make progress toward your future.

The crisis will end at some point. None of us will be in a better place than we were before the crisis, but we can all be better prepared for our future if we just plan ahead.

Evaluate where you stand: the good thing about a global shutdown is that it gives us time to slow down and reflect. Call a timeout, huddle up, and take inventory of how you’re doing with money right now.

Take the next step: don’t obsess about the stock market. Focus on the money choices you can control today. Keep saving money, and stay away from debt. We can’t predict when the economy will be “back to normal”.

Cast a vision for the future: you can’t control the economy, but you can choose your vision for the future. I want you to keep your future dreams alive during this time. Vision carries you through difficult times, because it gives you hope. If you’re willing to work, good things will come your way. We will move through these challenges, and the economy will regain strength. And as the economy grows, so will your opportunity to grow your wealth.

Times of crisis reveal who we are: I want you to hear me on this: you can overcome! No one gets to mandate how you think, or what actions you take to control your money. So, how will you respond? If nothing else, will you take advantage of the retirement plan your employer has for you? Will you start saving for your dreams? Will you be working forever or will you start now working toward retirement?

Earn Your College Associate Degree Online for Free

With the SEIU Free College Benefit, eligible SEIU members and their families can earn an Associate Degree or Certificate online without having to pay for tuition, fees or e-books. A new partnership with Eastern Gateway Community College, part of the University System of Ohio and regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, offers grants that fill the gap between any Federal, state, or employer education grants the student receives and the cost of tuition, fees, and e-books for certain online programs:

  • Associate Degree: Accounting, Business Management (degree focus: Advertising, Cyber Security, Data Science, Digital and Social Media, Entrepreneurship, Finance, General Management, Healthcare Management, Hospitality, Human Resources, Information Systems, Labor Studies, Programming and Development), Criminal Justice, Teacher Education, Individualized Study, Paralegal
  • Certificate: Patient Home Navigator First launched with AFSCME in 2015, thousands of students have already taken advantage of millions of dollars in scholarships and we are proud to bring this benefit to SEIU members. To enroll in one of these Eastern Gateway Community College online programs and receive the SEIU Free College Benefit, SEIU members (or their family members) must complete the following steps:
  1. Register or sign in to apply at SEIUMB.org.
  2. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and submit any required verification. Any grant award must be applied to tuition, fees and e-book charges.
  3. Agree to use any employer-provided educational assistance.
  4. Verify High School or GED completion by having official transcripts sent to Eastern Gateway Community College. 

Have any questions? We’re here to help, contact an advisor at:

1(844) 836-7348 or ask-us@seiumb.com

Your Black Colleagues May Look Like They're Okay- Chances are They're Not

I ran across this article from DANIELLE CADET and felt I should share it with all of you. Let’s cut to the chase. It’s been a tough few days...weeks...months. For many people, working in the midst of a global pandemic has been difficult. For those of us fortunate enough to continue doing our jobs safely at home, we've had to somehow make ourselves look presentable for nonstop digital meetings, and had to learn how to be productive as the lines between our personal and professional lives continue to blur. We’ve run out of shows to stream, Instagram lives to watch, things to bake. We’re confused and scared, and we don’t know when any of this will be over. But there’s a tale of two quarantines. Because while some Americans have been consumed by banana bread, others have had to navigate surviving a pandemic in a country they were never actually meant to live in.
Over the last few months, Black people have not only watched their friends and family members die at higher rates from the coronavirus, they have also watched people who look like them be gunned down while going for a jog, be murdered in their homes, threatened while bird watching in Central Park, and mercilessly choked on camera.
And every day, we have woken up and answered the emails and gotten on the Zoom calls. We’ve showed up with a smile, and put the pain and fear behind us. We’ve swallowed the rage while responding to our bosses, and offered the assistance and worked twice as hard for half as much — because that’s all we know how to do.
But here’s a newsflash for all the non-black people unaware of this fact: your Black colleagues may seem okay right now, but chances are they’re not.

The likelihood that your Black colleague lost a family member to COVID-19 is painfully high. The chances that your Black colleague was triggered by the viral video of Amy Cooper showing a white woman using her race and privilege and weaponized it against a black man is incredibly likely. The possibility that your Black colleague is afraid to go for a run, or terrified when her husband leaves the house, or just simply enraged by the incessant lies this country keeps telling us about equal liberties is so high you’ll need a ladder to get it down. And yet, she’s responded to your passive aggressive email, and he’s smiled through your condescending questioning. Or even just found the strength to peel themselves out of bed and simply show up. Every day, Black people take the personal trauma we all know to be true and tuck it away to protect non-black people who are ignorant to the fact that it’s nearly impossible to keep going when your grandma won’t survive coronavirus because she has serious pre-existing conditions. It's hard to be your best self at work when we watch white women feign terror on the phone with authorities that will arrive at the scene and kill the Black man she called the cops on. It’s even harder when you watch those cops kill that Black man on video, and sometimes the killers aren’t even cops.

But we show up for work anyway. And we contain our rage, tears, fear and sadness. We write to each other in group chats. We send each other articles that articulate our feelings. We post and repost and retweet on social media. But we can't take our pain openly to work. So while you navigate this pandemic which has ravaged our way of life — and prematurely taken the lives of so many no matter what race — acknowledge that burden is falling on your Black colleagues disproportionately. And know that they’ll never show it. They’ve learned to navigate their worlds too well for that. And although we were told the degrees and the jobs and the accomplishments would somehow protect us from being treated like second-class citizens; although we were made to believe that working hard and contributing to society would mean society would treat us like human beings, we’ve learned the painful truth;
THAT'S A LIE.
On behalf of your Black colleagues: we’re not okay. And you shouldn’t be either.

Furloughs, Layoffs & Benefits Cuts

As many of you have been reading online as well as in your local newspapers, our employers have been making the public aware of their financial losses due to this COVID pandemic. They report millions of dollars in operating losses. As they take steps toward a new normal and elective procedures start up again, will they report all the losses in hours, salaries, and benefits of their workers? Will these current and projected budget gaps fall further on the backs of their workers? While Children’s and Medstar Washington Hospital Center are very high performing, successful and financially strong systems, the economic impact of COVID-19 has not passed them by; which is why staff has been mandated to use up and even give back earned wages and benefits in the form of “ATO”. Some people question why some staff report to work and are sent home “leave without pay” while others work from home and receive full pay. Have the working conditions placed us in a situation where the value of workers on the frontlines are less important than the workers who get to work from home? We don’t see or hear about the (work from home) crew showing up for work and losing additional hours. So will these employers handle forward movement as bias as they have handled these past months of this pandemic?

NON-WORK FROM HOME EMPLOYEES WANNA KNOW