Our union was born out of the civil rights movement in one of the most hostile states for workers to organize in the country. In 1968 a dedicated group of St Petersburg sanitation workers decided that enough was enough and laid the foundation for what would eventually become SEIU Florida Public Services Union. They didn’t know it at the time, but their willingness to fight for what was right against all odds would change our national story, and their legacy still lives on in union members who believe that we have a duty to fight for all working people, no matter where they come from or what they rank.
The slow march towards progress has been marked by hardships and setbacks, especially in recent years. Still, our commitment to these ideals is what makes our organization so special and it’s what drives us at our core. We hear it all the time… Maybe we could negotiate bigger pay raises for a select few at the top if we weren’t committed to fighting for everyone at the bottom? Maybe we could have easier relationships with management if we didn’t insist on bringing the voices of our communities with us to the bargaining table. We know, this is not the approach taken by most unions. But at SEIU-FPSU, being a union member is about being part of a movement that’s bigger than each of us.
This is a time of unprecedented challenge for working people and their families, but there is hope on the horizon. Our union is on the move. Just last year we grew by more than 2,000 new workers even in the midst of a pandemic and unprecedented economic crisis. Members are coming together like never before to find power in their union, and not a moment too soon. We have challenges ahead, but if there is one thing we have shown since the beginning of this story, it’s that we don’t back down from a fight. No matter how daunting the path, we always come together to stand for what is right. That’s our story, and it’s your story too.