A Message From Local 21 Executive Director Debra Grabelle: What Happens Next is Up to Us


First, I want to thank the Local 21 Executive Board and the Delegate Assembly for choosing me to be your Executive Director. I am excited to lead with you all in this significant moment for the labor movement. Our union and thousands of us in the labor movement have spent many months preparing for the upcoming Janus vs. AFSCME Supreme Court decision. We have strengthened our union through a membership campaign and have achieved a historically high level of membership at 91% across IFPTE Local 21. 

In the coming weeks, months, and years, there are going to be a lot of opinions about the implications of this Supreme Court decision. Many will say that we will be weaker because of this decision. It is true that the billionaires backing the Janus vs. AFSCME case have an overt agenda to weaken unions to take away our rights, pensions, job security, and standard of living.  They want us to believe that there is nothing we can do in the face of their campaign to decrease our collective power. 

But we know that what happens next is up to us. There are 3 things we can immediately do to strengthen our collective power.

  • Keep our membership numbers high so we have the resources to protect our public services, jobs, salaries, and retirement benefits. We need to make sure our co-workers and friends remain members of IFPTE Local 21. When we commit to our union and organize our co-workers to also be strong members, our power and ability to stand up for ourselves and our communities grows.  

  • We need to actively advocate for public sector services and jobs. The committed and dedicated members of Local 21 work hard to provide valuable public services for our communities. We can raise the profile of the important work that Local 21 members do every day.  

  • As a member, you can re-post and share content from the IFPTE Local 21 Facebook page, attend a City Council and/or community meeting, and participate in a phonebank around issues that impact our strength as a union. Doing these things will make a tangible, positive difference, and make us a stronger, more active union.

We are a union. We are a collective of 11,000 people who have decided to stand together so we can achieve more. If every one of us makes the choice to contribute in different ways, we as IFPTE Local 21 can come out the other side of this historical moment stronger than Janus. I believe in our union, and I believe that we have the strength and will to win.  

Thank you and in solidarity, 

Debra Grabelle
IFPTE Local 21 Executive Director