In addition to fighting back takeaways at the bargaining table in many of our local’s chapters, 2011 saw SEIU Local 521 members stand side by side with the 99% to fight back against an unjust economy, attacks on the middle class, unemployment, and cuts to our retirement security.
Here are the Top 10 things SEIU 521 members accomplished in 2011!
1. WE successfully lobbied CalPERS, one of the largest investors in the world, to pump $800 million into infrastructure investments in California. If invested prudently, even a small allocation of CalPERS’s $230 billion in assets could create tens of thousands of jobs in California. 521 members told CalPERS trustees this in September and the board listened!
2. WE trained nearly 650 members to be stewards who now have skills and resources to help workers navigate the worksite and know their rights.
3. WE held our first telephone town hall in December, with more than 14,000 members participating to hear about critical campaigns in 2012, such as passing a tax initiative to bring more funding to public services.
4. WE helped push for legislation (AB 646) that, as of Jan. 2012, adds a required fact‐finding step before allowing the imposition of a last, best and final offer.
5. WE held the judicial system to accountability and transparency. 521 court workers joined others statewide to press for legislation that would rein in a bloated top‐heaving court bureaucracy.
6. WE spoke up for smart pension reform and retirement security before state legislators in Sacramento.
7. WE won $4.67 million for members in cases involving arbitrations, grievances, and disciplinary actions/suspensions/terminations in 2011.
8. WE demanded that with state unemployment topping 12 percent, Congress stop playing politics and start creating jobs. At Jobs Town Halls in August, members addressed congressional representatives in Salinas, San Mateo, San Jose, Fresno and Visalia.
9. WE elected more than 100 delegates who gathered for SEIU 521’s first Biennial Convention in October, a forum for union member leaders to review and assess the union’s future work. Feedback from this convention is instrumental in the development of the localwide plan for 2012/13.
10. WE stood in April with Wisconsin workers who saw their collective bargaining rights stripped by an anti‐union governor. And then in November, joined in the National Day of Action to say, “We are the 99%!”
2012: Forging Ahead
Why this year is so critical:
- Our education and public services are at risk. We must pass a revenue initiative in November that will fund education and public safety to make California strong again.
- Our retirement security is at risk. We must reform pension smartly so that all working Americans can retire with dignity.
- Our voice is at risk. The wealthy 1% is attacking union members’ political voice. We must defeat a bogus initiative that aims to silence the voices of the majority.