The SEIU Pennsylvania State Council is proud to support the work of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus (PLBC), which has taken important steps to help achieve racial justice in Pennsylvania on a legislative level. In this moment of unprecedented demand for racial justice, stemming from the murder of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer, members of the PLBC have demanded that the legislature consider bills aimed at obtaining better policing policies and achieving equal rights for people of color — particularly black Pennsylvanians.
Today SEIU recognizes the important step of passing SB 637, HB 1910, and HB 1841, and applauds State Representatives Chris Rabb, Jason Dawkins, Harry Readshaw, Dan Williams, whose measures were passed unanimously in the House Judiciary Committee. Although we know that far more needs to be done to achieve true reform to end systemic racism in policing, education, housing, health, and employment opportunities, we recognize that change must start somewhere, and this is a start to what we hope will be an ongoing effort.
“Video after video, story after story, we have witnessed unspeakable terrors committed against black people throughout the country, and now in this moment we must all make a commitment to ensure that regardless of race, gender, or socioeconomic background, everyone deserves to be and feel safe. While we know that these legislative measures are one small step towards a larger goal, we applaud the efforts of the PLBC for bringing these measures to the forefront,” said Gabe Morgan, President of the PA State Council and Vice President of Local 32BJ. “This is not a time to be complacent, and we will work with the PLBC and the legislature at large, as well as our own black and brown members, and activists to ensure that the right for racial justice continues throughout the General Assembly.”
In addition to the aforementioned legislative measures, SEIU supports the larger legislative agenda led by the PLBC that seeks to implement stronger reforms to policing and establish greater racial equity. Those measures include the following reforms:
- Independent investigations of police involved killings.
- Change the use of lethal force policing policies to require de-escalation and prohibit chokeholds and other similar practices.
- Apply all of the public education money to the formula that gives poor school districts 4x the money of rich school districts.
- Raise the minimum wage to at least $15 per hour.
- Reduce the prison population of nonviolent offenders out of prison and invest millions of dollars in people and communities.
- Establish/Require an independent review process where police kill or seriously injure civilians (special prosecutor/grand jury/citizen review).
- Improve access to police video footage by requiring all non body camera police video to be subject to Right to Know laws.
The locals of the SEIU Pennsylvania State Council include SEIU Local 32BJ, SEIU Local 668, SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, and the Pennsylvania Joint Board of Workers United. These locals represent 80,000 workers statewide – including property service workers, health care workers, public service workers, school employees, laundry and distribution workers.