For some members, joining the union’s Purple Brigade is a small step. For others, it’s a leap. Either way, members of the Purple Brigade see it as a necessity to build power for working people.
“I knew about the attacks on working people and I didn’t want to say that I sat back and didn’t get involved. This fight is too important,” said Annie Yarbary, a Decatur home child care provider for 10 years and recent member of the Purple Brigade.
“This is the first time I’ve been head deep in being involved,” said Stephanie Sanderfield, a Springfield home care aide. “I’ve tried to give excuses and not be involved, but when I went to a meeting and heard what they were talking about, a fire ignited in me.”
Since joining the Purple Brigade, both members have spoken at Lobby Days, knocked on doors to get child care and home care providers to join the union and sign up for COPE to build the union’s political power.
Home care worker Angela Jones was one of the first workers to step up last year to organize Springfield Complete Care workers into SEIU Healthcare Illinois & Indiana and she helped bargain their first contract. Now she is a Purple Brigader.
“It was a natural progression. I just want to educate members about our union,” said Angela. “The union is very important. Our strength lies in our unity and our knowledge.”
“Hearing from other members like me helps them to connect the dots about what we can do to stop the budget cuts threatening our jobs and services,” Stephanie said.