Revitalize Unions

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Dear Editor: Regarding Kiernan Colby’s article in the July/August issue, “Unite for Dignity and Respect,” I want to bring to Friends’ attention successful organizing in Missouri over the last year. The Missouri campaign mobilized over 300,100 people to sign petitions to put an initiative on the ballot to block implementation of “right-to-work” legislation in the state. Union members then knocked on thousands of doors, engaged in one-on-one conversations across the state, and successfully mobilized voters to pass the initiative at the polls on August 7, thus turning back efforts in Missouri to gut private-sector unions.

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s June 2018 ruling in Janus v. AFSCME – which upheld “right-to-work” laws across the country, allowing public-sector union members to decline to pay union fees while still receiving union services – energetic education and organizing are the paths forward. Missouri’s example shows that we can stand strong with vigor and determination to defend and revitalize unions. And we must.

– Gillian Burlingham, South Seattle Meeting (NPYM)