Brothers and Sisters,
These are challenging times for our union and our country: tornadoes in Nashville and Middle Tennessee; the spreading Coronavirus pandemic; and a growing uncertainty about the economy itself.
In our workplaces, a host of new concerns around staffing and safety – especially for members in public service and health care jobs – have quickly appeared. Many members are off work, while schools, libraries, and rec centers are closed. Many others are being asked to work from home, while those who report to a worksite are having to navigate new protocols and adapt to changing workplace conditions.
Our communities are looking for leadership to help them find support and hope. They are looking for reliable information to help them make sense of what is going on around them. They want to know there is someone who cares about them and their families.
We as Union members are here to provide that leadership and support. We know how important it is to stick together and hold each other up, especially in rough times and tough fights. We know because together is how we have made it through tough times before.
The challenges we currently face are different than any we have faced before, but the way we get through them and come out stronger is nothing new. Our union’s motto is “Stronger Together” and that’s what we need to be for each other over the coming weeks and months. We need to be patient with one another and support our union brothers and sisters as they face all kinds of struggles on the job and at home.
It is important that we support each other in our workplaces and communities across Tennessee and across the country. Now is a critical time for the American worker and SEIU will be leading the way. We are actively lobbying federal, state, and local governments to provide the needed financial resources to protect working families and to allocate the resources needed to respond effectively to this fast evolving situation through SEIU’s ‘Protect All Workers’ demands.
As an organization we are also having to adapt to our new reality and are doing our part to be good citizens while still focusing on the work we need to do. We are following state, local and federal guidelines by limiting our public office hours, suspending group meetings, and switching to video conferences and group calls. Of course you can still reach us by phone, text, and email as you always have. We also are doing our utmost to keep our staff safe and healthy, while still allowing them to continue their vital assignments. They may have to do things a little differently, but their tremendous dedication and commitment will remain the same.
As we chart our path through these challenging times I know I can count on all of you to help us get through these challenging times, like I always have. Please stay safe; take care your families, your friends, your co-workers and yourselves.
Yours in solidarity,
P.S. — Below are some links to information that has helped me better understand what is going on with the COVID-19 pandemic and what we can do to protect ourselves on the job and at home. I am also including links to other resources you should know about. These will be updated periodically on our website and our Facebook page. If there are other topics we need to add, let us know.
Nashville Response Fund. This is a joint effort from Mayor John Cooper’s office and the United Way of Greater Nashville to assist workers whose income has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chattanooga Action Network. Organized by the Chattanooga Area Central Labor Council, this link allows you to make a donation to our brothers and sisters with AFM Local 80 and IATSE Local 140 in the Scenic City who have lost work as a result of COVID-19. The CALC will use the funds to provide pre-paid grocery gift cards so that impacted workers can focus on securing rent, utilities and other financial needs.
Mid-South Regional Response Fund. Support and resources for community members who have been impacted by the pandemic in Memphis, West Tennessee, eastern Arkansas, and northern Mississippi.
AFL-CIO. This is a list of COVID-19 resources compiled by the national AFL-CIO that will be updated frequently and includes industry-specific guidance.
SEIU. 10 steps to preventing coronavirus.
CDC. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention resources on COVID-19.
WHO. World Health Organization ‘Situation Reports’ – clearinghouse for COVID-19 updates, resources, advice, and training.