June 2011

Santa Cruz rallies for fair contract

Santa Cruz County workers held rallies June 21 and 22 to demand a fair contract. Losing vital services and public jobs is not what the community needs right now and hundreds of SEIU 521 members rallied to say so.

Workers are fighting back county proposals that would leave working families struggling even harder in this dire economy. Said Jane Christmann:

“Higher paid management needs to take more responsibility.”

County workers can’t survive the current county-proposed pay losses as we negotiate our contract. Higher paid management needs to take more responsibility.

Did you like this? Share it:
Leave a comment

City of Salinas: Workers ratify contracts, avoid layoffs

City of Salinas: Three units ratify contracts

Randy Casey, John Falkenberg and Susan Anda

These are tough times, and so special recognition must go to SEIU 521 member leaders from the City of Salinas who have won a decent contract for the membership.

Salinas workers originally were facing 66 layoffs. Member leadership played a lead role in working with the city for fact-finding and alternatives to layoffs with creative reorganization.

After negotiating for months, three units ratified three contracts with the following highlights:

  • A four-year extension of the contract to December 31, 2015.
  • No layoffs and in writing guarantee of no layoffs for six months.
  • No increases in healthcare premiums during the term of the contract.

Congratulations to SEIU 521 members of the City of Salinas and their leadership!

Did you like this? Share it:
Leave a comment

HELP Committee hearing on the middle class highlights need for job creation

WASHINGTON, DC — After the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a hearing on the state of the middle class, Mary Kay Henry, President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), issued the following statement:

“Today’s hearing highlighted the dire situation facing working families in our country. More and more families are falling out of the middle class instead of rising into it. Millions are losing their jobs and there seems to be no end in sight to the sacrifices they are being asked to make.

“There is no more important part to rebuilding the middle class than putting America back to work. That means the public and private sectors must work together to create good jobs that can support a family. A good start is fixing our crumbling infrastructure and providing incentives for corporations to bring jobs back home.

“The state of America’s shrinking middle class is one reason that the National Labor Relations Board’s proposed rule that would restore fairness to the union election process is a positive step for workers. The rule would potentially eliminate unnecessary delays that prevent workers from voting whether to form a union. Joining a union is the most effective way for workers to bargain for better wages, benefits and working conditions. Unions help bring workers into the middle class.

“In this economy, with millions of Americans struggling to get by, anything the federal government can do to help more workers gain access to the American Dream and improve their lives should be welcomed.”

###

With 2.1 million members in Canada, the United States and Puerto Rico, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in the Americas. Focused on uniting workers in healthcare, public services and property services, SEIU members are winning better wages, healthcare and more secure jobs for our communities, while uniting their strength with their counterparts around the world to help ensure that workers–not just corporations and CEOs–benefit from today’s global economy.

www.seiu.org

Did you like this? Share it:
Leave a comment

Camp out at San Jose City Hall for 24 hours

Solidarity Rally in San Jose

At 5:30 p.m. Thursday, June 23, hundreds of working families started gathering at San Jose City Hall,  200 E. Santa Clara St., to show solidarity with city workers. They brought their sleeping bag to the rally and camped out until Friday, June 24 at Noon. Check out some of the photos below.

WHY: Don’t let San Jose become Wisconsin!

Right now, the San Jose City Council is seriously considering a proposal to declare a fiscal and public safety emergency that would strip city workers of their benefits and take away their collective bargaining rights. This is incredibly similar to the attacks on workers rights in Wisconsin.  Collective bargaining is a right we all need to defend.

Did you like this? Share it:
Leave a comment

Workers charge Monterey Co. with bad-faith bargaining

PRESS RELEASE: June 23, 2011

Contact: Khanh Weinberg – (408) 678-3364

SALINAS, Calif.The Monterey County Board of Supervisors may have adopted a balanced budget this week, but it did so without considering millions of dollars of cost-saving ideas and budget solutions submitted from its largest employee group, represented by SEIU Local 521.

In fact, the county is calling for $11 million in concessions from workers but cannot say how many jobs and services would be saved. County employees will hold a “unity break” Friday to show the workers’ resolve for a fair contract.

WHAT: County workers hold “unity break,” call on management to bargain in good faith

WHEN: 12:00– 12:30 p.m. Friday, June 24

WHERE: 1000 South Main Street, Salinas, at the Quad

# # #

The Service Employees International Union is an organization of 2.1 million members united by the belief in the dignity and worth of workers and the services they provide.  SEIU is dedicated to improving the lives of workers and their families and creating a more just and humane society.

For more information, visit www.seiu521.org

Did you like this? Share it:
Leave a comment

Monterey County rejects workers’ budget ideas

The Monterey County Board of Supervisors may have adopted a balanced budget this week, but it did so without considering millions of dollars of cost-saving ideas and budget solutions submitted from its largest employee group, represented by SEIU Local 521.

Read news coverage here

A unity break will be held Friday, June 24, at 1000 South Main Street, Salinas, at the Quad.

Workers are encouraged to come at Noon to show support for fair contract talks.

Did you like this? Share it:
Leave a comment

Modesto farmers, professors, and others rally

Rally to deliver a message of courage to Senator Cannella:

“Doing the right thing isn’t always easy, but we are counting on you.”

Californians standing up for services

Californians standing up for services

(MODESTO, CA) — Concerned that deeper state budget cuts will compromise their children’s education, seniors’ health, and their communities’ safety, Modesto area residents will rally to deliver a message of courage to Senator Cannella, “Doing the right thing isn’t always easy, but we are counting on you. No more cuts!”

Under strong pressure from extremists not to support a budget compromise, Senator Cannella will hear directly from constituents urging him to Stand Up and do the right thing by voting to maintain existing revenues. If existing revenues which are set expire on June 30th are not maintained, $9.6 billion more in cuts will be made, which will devastate our communities and our economic recovery.

Who: Over 140 Modesto families, seniors, & community members

When: Thursday, June 23 @ 12:00 NOON

Where: Sen. Senator Cannella’s Office – 918 15th St. – Modesto, CA 95354

Join us on Thursday, June 23 in sending a message of courage to Senator Cannella.

###

These Modesto area community members are some of the many Californians, including educators, parents, law enforcement officials, farmers and clergy members who have put aside their differences to support maintaining existing revenues in order to protect schools, seniors, and public safety from more cuts.

For more information, visit www.standupforca.org

Did you like this? Share it:
Leave a comment

NLRB rule a positive step for workers

One of the fundamental rights we all share as Americans is the right to vote – to vote for our elected officials and to vote whether to form a union.

But for too long workers who have exercised their right to join together to raise standards on the job and reach for the American Dream have been met with intense intimidation, bullying and even firings.

Well, on June 21, 2011, the National Labor Relations Board took a stand for working families across the country by issuing a rule that would remove bureaucratic barriers that employers use to delay union elections after employees indicate their desire to form a union at the workplace.

We’ve created a petition thanking them for the positive step they’re taking for Americans hoping to create a better life for themselves during these difficult economic times.

Add your name with others across the country who have signed the letter and we’ll be sure to deliver it to the NLRB next week: http://action.seiu.org/page/s/nlrb

What are corporations afraid of?

The Board will almost certainly come under attack by the same corporate interests who wrecked our economy while profiting mightily at the cost of millions of American jobs.

You remember the corporate rhetoric from their past campaigns against unions, right?

“The demise of a civilization.”

“Businesses are hearing about it and they’re ready to riot in the streets.”

Let the Board know that working families stand with them by signing a letter of support and we’ll deliver it for you. Sign and follow our progress here.

We’ve set an ambitious goal of 10,000 petitions signed in the next seven days. Between SEIU members and allies, it’s a goal we can meet that will send a powerful message to the Board.

This is a very important campaign, and we’ll be in touch as the debate begins.

In solidarity,

Mary Kay Henry
President, SEIU

——————–

This rule would have helped workers like Ann Anderson, a Registered Nurse from Naples, Florida who, along with 900 of her co-workers, filed for a union election in August 2007. Her employer hired a union-busting consultant that used every legal maneuver at its disposal to delay the election. During the delay, the employer was cited by the NLRB for breaking the law by intimidating and harassing pro-union workers.

In the end, the employer managed to obstruct the process for nearly four years and in March of 2011, Ann and her co-workers gave up without ever having the chance to vote.

Ann said, “We followed the law. We made it clear that we wanted to have a union vote. But it turns out the decision wasn’t ours to make–the hospital was able to use expensive legal maneuvers to make sure our vote was significantly delayed while it undertook a hard-hitting campaign to convince nurses that we shouldn’t have a union.”

——————–

SEIU Press Release: June 21, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C. – After the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a proposed rule that would potentially remove some frivolous litigation in union elections, Mary Kay Henry, President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), issued the following statement:

“In just the first six months of this year, we have witnessed unprecedented assaults on workers’ rights in states across the country. Now, the NLRB is taking a positive step for workers who want to exercise their fundamental right to decide for themselves whether to form a union.

“Too many workers have seen their efforts to join together on the job defeated by costly litigation and delaying tactics by their employer. Many never get the chance to make their voices heard at the ballot box. This rule change would protect a right that is central to our democracy – the right to vote.

“When Americans want to make their voices heard –whether in state capitols or at work–they should be able to without fear of retaliation.

“Don’t be surprised when right wing politicians and corporate interest groups make outrageous claims about what this rule change would do. These are the same politicians who are attacking workers’ rights around the country and the same corporations that are reaping record profits. America’s economic and tax policies are making them rich and they want to keep them that way.

“It’s time to restore some measure of balance and fairness to the system, starting with making sure workers have the right to vote whether to form a union without unnecessary delays.”

Did you like this? Share it:
2 Comments

Stand Up for CA: Walk in Ceres on Sat., June 25

California is hurting, but we can do better than this!

On Saturday, June 25, we’re going directly into Senator Anthony Canella’s hometown of Ceres. We’ll tell his neighbors there’s a better way to fix the budget.

Take the bus in Fresno:
8:15 a.m.: Meet at union office, 5228 E. Pine Ave, Fresno (Map)
8:30 a.m.: Bus leaves for Ceres

Or, join us in Ceres:
Saturday, June 25, 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Roeding Heights Park, Ceres (Map)

Breakfast and lunch will be provided. For more information, call (559) 447-2560.

RSVP now: tell us that we can count on you!

Did you like this? Share it:
Leave a comment

Santa Clara County workers tell management: Try again

Press Release: June 21, 2011

Contact: Khanh Weinberg – (408) 678-3364

SAN JOSE, Calif. – Nearly 3,000 Santa Clara County workers took part in a vote Monday and delivered a clear and strong message to county leaders: They will not accept anything less than a fair contract.

The daylong vote took place at a half-a-dozen work places from Gilroy to the County Government Center where supervisors meet. An overwhelming majority – 97 percent – voted to reject the county’s proposal and directed the union negotiating team to continue contract talks with the county. Members also directed SEIU Local 521 to seek a strike sanction from the Central Labor Council.

Claudia Eck, county Eligibility Worker and Negotiating Team member, said: “With nearly 3,000 workers taking the time to vote, it clearly shows our membership is united and engaged. And the fact that the overwhelming majority voted to reject the county’s proposal, as negotiators we now have a very clear mandate to fight back against management’s draconian cuts that would leave working families even more vulnerable in this economy.”

The county’s proposal calls for $49 million in concessions from SEIU 521 workers, with another $13 million in takeaways. Workers have countered with millions of dollars of budget solutions that the county continues to consider.

Eck called on the membership to continue its efforts at highlighting the valuable services county workers provide the community. “We care about what we do and we want the county to show its respect for us and for our work,” Eck said.

# # #

The Service Employees International Union is an organization of 2.1 million members united by the belief in the dignity and worth of workers and the services they provide. SEIU is dedicated to improving the lives of workers and their families and creating a more just and humane society.

For more information, visit www.seiu521.org

Did you like this? Share it:
8 Comments