Aparna Kumar,

Issued January 23, 2024

SEIU’s Mary Kay Henry: Workers are winning despite rigged rules

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Mary Kay Henry, president of the 2-million-member Service Employees International Union (SEIU), released the following statement in response to the new U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data on union membership and density:

“Over the past year, workers have exercised their power by going on strike in record numbers, winning historic contracts with major raises, and confronting some of the largest corporations in the economy to demand a voice on the job through a union. The pandemic and our nation’s racial reckoning exposed the many cracks in our system for millions of workers, which fed a growing demand for unions, especially among young people. And not only are they winning in their own workplaces, workers are also turning right around to fight in solidarity across industries to demand unions for all.

Overall, union membership is up, a credit to workers’ demands and the unwavering support of President Biden, the most pro-union President in U.S. history. The latest union density numbers are further proof that despite union popularity and organizing skyrocketing, the rules are still rigged against workers and it’s way too hard to win a voice on the job. Corporations are willing to throw everything they have, including millions of dollars and infinite resources, at fighting their own employees and busting the unions workers are forming together. Outdated labor laws rooted in systemic racism hold workers back, while major corporations and the politicians who support them fight tooth and nail to stop workers from leveling the playing field.

It’s past time to write new rules and pass legislation that makes it easier for workers to join together like the PRO Act, fully fund agencies charged with worker protection like the National Labor Relations Board and the Department of Labor, and repeal so-called “right-to-work” laws in states. Workers are organizing nationwide, in their workplaces and in the streets, to fight for an economy and a democracy that works for everyone. And in 2024, they’re ready to turn out at the ballot box to elect worker champions who will fight with us to write new rules for our economy and create good union, living-wage jobs. We’ll keep fighting until we win.”