Posted October 6, 2023

Hello Brothers and Sisters,

The labor movement has never been more active in my lifetime then it is right now. Union members across the country have been demanding better pay and working conditions through sanctioned labor dispute power. At DC16 we have experienced our Painter members in the Bay Area flex their voice through the power of striking which not only led to a successful Northern California Painters Master Agreement it set the table for successful Fresno and Sacramento area Addendums without having to have a dispute.

More recently and out of our covered work there has been disputes in the entertainment industry, the automotive industry and now with the Support Workers at Kaiser Permente SEIU/UHW with what is reported to be the largest member wise (75,000) members nationwide in the history of the US. Recently I was asked by a member why is it important to support Labor Actions by Union Members that are not in the Building Trades or represented by the IUPAT? The short answer to that question is simple it’s there is strength in numbers. Sounds like a logical answer but it really just leads to another question and that would be what is the strength?

  Let’s use the current Strike at Kaiser Permanente as an example. First, we need to understand the situation. Kaiser posted 2 billion dollars in profits this past year. The management at Kaiser have a historical record of not adequately staffing their hospitals and pushing back on any reasonable request for wage increases through Collective Bargaining and even go as far as not bargaining in good faith. The current request for the workers on strike is $6.00 over four years and requirements to adequately staff their departments. Because of the impact on people in the community that use Kaiser for their medical needs the bargaining units have to send a notice that they are going to strike for a certain amount of day’s that are allowed under law. 

Now that we know their battle lets recognize how our support of their dispute give’s them strength.  First of all, Kaiser is signatory to our Painter, Finisher and Floorcovering agreements. They are also signatory to the Carpenters and the Stationary engineers amongst many other Unions. They also depend on members from other Unions such as the Teamsters. Because their Strike is sanctioned through the AFL-CIO members of those Unions typically would honor their Picket Lines bringing Kaiser’s ability to operate to a very slow pace. Imagine the Teamsters not making deliveries, the Finishing Trades not keeping up their facilities, Postal workers not delivering mail, Stationary Engineers not making sure the plant is operating safely the list goes on and on. Complaints from the Local Governments created from complaints from the people in the communities would force Kaiser Management to get to a resolution that is Fair with the Striking workers sooner than later.

The same would work for our crafts in reverse if we were on strike with one of our represented crafts at Kaiser. Because of relationships built from Union Members voluntarily honoring their Line and relationships built by DC16 Business Representatives in the Local Central Labor Councils and Building Trades and relationships built by our Business Manager, Director of Service, Director of Organizing and Political Director with other Trades Unions Leaderships and Local and State Political Leaders the ask of support from those organizations becomes a no brainer for them. 

When Union members and Union Leadership’s join together in Unity it creates a solidarity that not even Big Money can break. The biggest hurdle for the Labor movement is to get all its members on the same page for that to happen. In order for that to happen it starts with you. Please remember that when you’re making that decision to either honor or cross a picket line.

In Unity

Jeffery B Roberts



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