With Sandra Goldschmidt, the service union Verdi Hamburg has a woman at its head for the first time. A state district conference elected the 47-year-old former deputy Verdi boss on Friday with 56 out of 82 valid votes as state district manager. 17 trade unionists voted against them, 9 abstained. This corresponds to an approval of around 68 percent. She had no opponent.
Goldschmidt succeeds Berthold Bose, who is giving up his job after around eight years for health reasons. According to the information, Verdi Hamburg has around 87,000 members, nationwide there are around 1.9 million. Verdi national chairman Frank Werneke warned against attacks on the right to strike, while Hamburg's mayor Peter Tschentscher (SPD) complained that the collective bargaining agreement was far too low.
"I want us to be much, much more," said Goldschmidt. She therefore wants to fight for collective agreements with real inflation compensation and greater collective bargaining coverage. "Our members have to feel it in their wallets that it's worth being a member of us." But she also wants to promote cooperation with social movements like Fridays for Future, said Goldschmidt, who is also a member of the Greens. In her opinion, public contracts should only go to companies bound by collective bargaining agreements and the social security systems should be expanded.
"The strong shoulders urgently need to carry more than the weak," said Goldschmidt. And by that she explicitly doesn't mean the middle class, which already pays most of the taxes and still has to fear slipping into poverty. "Who often feel unrepresented by the democratic parties and honestly at least sometimes by us unions."
On the anniversary of Russia's illegal attack on Ukraine, the new union leader emphasized that the war must not be tolerated. She stands in solidarity with Ukraine and her desire to defend herself. However, she considers the goal reinforced by Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) of increasing defense spending in Germany to two percent of gross domestic product to be “definitely wrong”. On the one hand, every rearmament ultimately leads to more and longer war, suffering and death, on the other hand, the money is urgently needed elsewhere.
Verdi Federal Chief Werneke said: "Hands off the right to strike." This is a fundamental right, has constitutional status. "We will defend this fundamental right by all means," warned the trade unionist. In doing so, he was reacting to demands from the federal chairwoman of the CDU medium-sized company MIT, Gitta Connemann, who is campaigning for restrictions on the right to strike.
Werneke called the participation in the most recent warning strikes in the public service of the federal government and the municipalities outstanding. There will be further protests until the third round of negotiations, which begins on March 27. After that, it will become clear whether there will be a collective bargaining agreement or whether forced strikes might even become necessary: "A solidarity greeting will therefore certainly also go from this conference to all colleagues willing to fight."
Mayor Tschentscher said, with a view to a collective agreement of only 43 percent: "It's a point that hurts us a lot that we can't manage in a strong economy like Germany that everyone can work with secure tariffs." That is a fundamental one Question that is still on the agenda. He was also critical of how the churches treated their employees. "It is already outdated that church workers are not supported by workers' rights in the same way as everyone else."
In addition to Bose, the previous Verdi vice Sieglinde Frieß also left the board. The two vice positions that had become vacant were filled by the state district conference with the state department manager for trade, Heike Lattekamp (60), and with the department manager for supply and disposal, energy, water and waste management, Ole Borgard (36). Lattekamp received around 85 percent yes votes, Borgard 96 percent.
Before she was elected regional district manager, Goldschmidt was responsible for the areas of women and equality, youth and the self-employed as well as member services and organizational development as Verdi Vice President. Born in Schwäbisch Gmünd, the trained photographer lives with her husband and three school-age children in Hamburg-Stellingen.