President's Letter 2023
Brothers and Sisters,
As we get back to the new normal after the pandemic, I hope this letter finds everyone healthy and in a safe place. After more than nine months at the bargaining table, we have successfully settled our contract! This could not have been done without everyone's active participation in the job actions by wearing buttons, stickers, the color green, and putting up your union signs. The city took notice and settled the day before our scheduled citywide picketing. This is a perfect example of the strength of standing in solidarity. The strength of union is ALL of us, and it requires ALL of our support. With that being said, we have not had an increase in union dues for more than ten years. We are required to be fiscally responsible for our local, so there will be a small increase of $1.28 per paycheck.
The Illinois Policy Institute has stepped up their tactics to convince you unions aren‟t necessary. Companies across the country that have never been unionized are trying to organize and become Union strong, from Starbucks and Amazon to the Art Institute, to name a few. They are angry the Workers‟ Rights Amendment to the Illinois Constitution passed this past November.
“The Workers Rights Amendment guarantees every Illinois citizen their fundamental right to organize their workplace and bargain collectively for better pay and safe workplaces. It permanently outlaws any attempt to pass as so called „right to work (for less).‟ Illinois will be the fourth state to enshrine the right to collective bargaining in its constitution.” -Ed Finkelstein, Labor Tribune
The struggles we deal with on a day-to-day basis are challenging enough without the worries of not having a union to fight for us. Local 2912 is only as strong as its membership. In a city-wide meeting regarding contract updates, the membership suggested we should start a “Wear Green Wednesday” movement. Moving forward, we are asking all AFSCME members to wear green EVERY WEDNESDAY. We should all be proud knowing that despite the strong attacks thrown at us, we have proven we want our union intact. We deserve a voice at the table, and we continue to challenge the billionaires that doubt our intelligence and try to convince us we would be better off without our Union.
I recently returned from a spiritual trip to India. It was rejuvenating and a well needed break from my regular day-to-day. I took all the eyeglasses that everyone donated over the years of the pandemic and gave them to an eye camp in Vrindavan, a small village in India. The eye camp is for those who cannot afford basic eye care. The man that took the box of glasses found a pair that worked for him, and he exclaimed, “I can see again!” He said a monkey took his glasses (they will steal things like glasses, hats, bags, etc.) and he could not afford a new pair. The trip was an emotional experience that made me appreciate my life that much more. I am still collecting glasses; if you have any you would like to donate, please drop them in the box by my desk.
I am grateful to you for allowing me another year to represent you, and for our union standing in solidarity. Please stay safe and healthy!
Susan M. Littlefield,
President AFSCME Local 2912