People with Disabilities and Workers Team Up to Fight the “Right Fight”

Bob Kafka, from the Adapt Community, Endorse the Guiding Principles while SEIU President Mary Kay Henry and SEIU Executive Vice President Kirk Adams look on.

Today leaders from the union and disability advocacy movements joined together to sign a historic document called “Guiding Principles: For Partnerships with Unions and Emerging Worker Organizations When Individuals Direct Their Own Services and Supports.”

For nearly three years, SEIU, ADAPT, the Center for Self Determination, and the National Resource Center for Participant-Directed Services have collaborated to design these shared principles.

The refrain at the signing ceremony today was the words “stronger, “ and “together,” because these principles provide a framework for how disability advocates and labor unions can work side by side to advance an individual’s ability to direct and control their own services while also improving workers’ wages, benefits, and working conditions.

“In this environment, our two great movements must work together to fight these threats. We must support each other and combine our strength, or we will suffer the consequences. These Guiding Principles create the framework for us to work together,” SEIU President Mary Kay Henry said.

Now more than ever, Americans need our united voices. Millions of Americans in the 99% are being left behind in this economy; affordable, secure healthcare is under attack; corporations and right wing extremists are focused on dismantling the rights of workers; and the very foundation of independent living for people with disabilities is at risk.

Today’s ceremony closed with the joint commitment of both movements to go forward in educating its respective constituents of the Principles. Please feel free to download the full document, or this version of the document optimized for screen readers, and pass it along to everyone you know. You can also read a cover letter from the individuals involved in drafting the principles and get in touch with them here.

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Left to right, back row: Tom Nerney, Leslie Frane, Kirk Adams, Mary Kay Henry, Mark Polit, Kevin Mahoney, Erin McGaffigan; Left to right, front row: Mike Oxford, Bob Kafka

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