The National Conservative Member Engagement Committee is a group of conservative SEIU members from around the country who have been meeting over the past 4 years to provide input from our conservative members to the International Union.
In partnership with our International Union’s National Conservative Member Engagement Committee (CMEC), SEIU Local 668 has been working diligently to ensure that all of our members, of all backgrounds and beliefs, have a voice in the direction of our union. In 2019, our Local was one of two locals in the country that piloted the Conservative Member Engagement Committee (CMEC) program with members. This program is based off a program that SEIU Michigan State Council formulated and implemented back in 2015 as they recognized the need to engage and connect with their moderate and conservative members.
Building on work that began in 2015, our union had two CMEC coordinators out on leave until December to connect one-on-one with members in an effort to build a formal vehicle to ensure that conservative voices help drive the work of our union, SEIU Local 668.
Frank Gerlach is from a local unit in Lehigh County, and Jeff Seabury is from a state unit in Fayette County. Jeff and Frank have attended every chapter meeting in June and July to begin touching-base with chairs and members. Their goal is to connect with any self-identifying conservative member and have a discussion around shared conservative and union values. These discussions will lead to small group listening sessions this Fall, where groups of members will meet with Frank and Jeff to talk about where our collective values intersect. It’s important to note that Jeff and Frank are looking to have discussions with members wherever their values lie–this is not a program looking to change our member’s values or morals, we simply want to engage members where you are and help connect you with other like-minded members to discuss the intersection of union and personal values.
This program is one intended to broaden SEIU 668’s engagement with all members—our union is meant to be a representation of every member, and we’d like to ensure that conservative members have their voices heard and represented, especially coming into an election year. Our CMEC program has the ultimate goal of inclusion, not conversion, and uniting, not dividing, our union.
Often, we become caught up in the partisan divide that has been the hallmark of American politics for the past many decades. We can’t see past labels: “liberal”, “socialist”, “centrist”, “conservative”, “libertarian”, “Democrat”, “Republican”, “left-wing”, “right-wing” and the like. And the labels don’t encapsulate how we feel about everything. Democrats vote for Republican candidates and vice versa. Some Democrats are pro-life, while some Republicans are for comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship. No label captures anybody completely.
It’s important to note that 26.6% of members here in SEIU 668 identify as either Republican or Independent, so recognizing that not every member is a Democrat or left-leaning is important. Our CMEC committee has the ultimate goal of teaching our conservative members to empower themselves, find their voices and solidify their roles within the Local. Ultimately, we must have a union that values and represents all of its members on issues of Labor.
What unites us is that we are all union members. Our union is about labor, not labels.