California Labor “All-in-to-Win” for Silicon Valley Security Officers

California Labor “All-in-to-Win” for Silicon Valley Security Officers 

by Maimuna Syed

Earlier this year thousands of security officers won the right to build their union. This is largest private sector victory in recent years. This victory goes to prove that when labor goes “All In” we can win for working people.

All-In-To-Win is a statewide campaign launched by the California Labor Federation. The goal is to use the collective strength and political power of labor in California to promote and support large-scale, strategic organizing campaigns that lift up the Labor Movement and build momentum for other organizing successes around the state.

The “All In” Organizing Committee selected SEIU-United Service Workers West's (USWW) Silicon Valley Security Officers Campaign as one of three campaigns to support. Through “All In to Win” we won against some of the largest corporations in the world. Additionally, this campaign has built organizing momentum through Silicon Valley Rising with Teamsters Joint Council 7 and UNITE HERE winning significant organizing drives with shuttle bus drivers, food service workers, and more.

The “All In” Silicon Valley Blitz, from April 21st– April 27th, brought together 84 union members from California School Employees Association (CSEA), Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), Orange County Employees Association (OCEA), Teamsters Locals 630, 856, 853; UNITE HERE Locals 2, 2850, Amerian Postal Workers Union, United Steel Workers CLEAN Car Wash Campaign, Communication Workers of America and SEIU Locals USWW, 1021, 721, UHW, 2015, Local 1 (Chicago), and Local 32BJ (NYC) with the goal of organizing thousands of security officers one-on-one to build their union. The labor solidarity was palpable during the blitz. Union participants left with not only the skills needed to organize but also a renewed value of their own unions, the labor movement and a strong sense of labor solidarity.

Buddy Renzullo with CSEA said after participating in the blitz: 

“This was an amazing opportunity to learn from other unions and organizations. It is an invigorating experience and a stroke of genius to bring labor together around this campaign. You only get a narrow view of the movement when you only see your work. Now I see the movement.”

Ravahn Samati with UNITE HERE added: 

“It was great to get to know other unions and interact with other union members. We all bring different stories and experiences together on a campaign with very different organizing strategies. The organizing rap was focused on relationship building which led to more meaningful conversations that helped security officers identify what the union difference is in their lives.”

The Campaign Blitz kicked off April 21s-22nd with an in depth training from the AFL-CIO’s Organizing Institute, SEIU-USWW and the California Labor Federation. 82 member organizers and union staffers learned how to have meaningful organizing conversations to build long term labor engagement with security officers. The training focused on seven important aspects of the organizing conversation including introduction, getting the story, agitation, plan to win, assessment, call to action and inoculation. 

On the training provided to Blitz participants, Stacey Harris with ATU said: 

“The blitz and the OI training helped reinforce ideas from similar trainings. I am a little shy and this training has helped me come out of my shell! My union members want me to come back and teach them how to organize. I feel more empowered to go back and get others involved in the union.”

Gus Castellano with OCEA added:

“The “All In to Win” Silicon Valley Blitz was a great experience to meet security officers and learn their stories. The blitz taught us the skills to develop relationships that we will transfer to our union. The training to listen first, the human element, was vital. We are so used to delivering the three minute sound bite. We have to change how we approach our members.”

Rudy Lopez with the Teamsters said after speaking with security officers: 

“There is one driving goal for all working people: How am I going to make it? I had a conversation with one security officer who had a $0.20 raise in the last ten years. I wonder “how are people living off these wages?’” 

Special thanks to Bob Johnson (CSEA), Wei-Ling Huber and Tho Do (UNITE HERE), Oscar Ruiz (Teamsters 630), Doug Bloch (Teamster JC7), Jennifer Muir (OCEA), Chris Finn (ATU 1555) and Ruth Rhodes (APWU) for releasing their members and staff in this game changing “All In” campaign to grow the movement and organize!

Additionally, thank you to Patricia Recinos, Gaspar Verdugo from the AFL-CIO Organizing Institute, trainers Jose Beltran, Daisy Monterroso and Zenaida Fuentes (Immigrant Organizing Project), Sanjay Garla and Tara Carey (SEIU-USWW) for developing a great blitz program.