San Benito County 521 members gathered at Leal Vineyards in Hollister Oct. 26 to review recent victories, assess our current situation, and prepare for upcoming challenges.
Our 521 Chief of Staff Luisa Blue also attended the event to address members.
Denise Quintana, San Benito County Chapter Vice President, gave an overview of victories members accomplished by standing together, including:
- Leading the charge on capping vacation accruals for managers
- Gathering support from our Supervisor Jaime De La Cruz to champion workers’ issues
- Negotiating a 1-percent wage increase
- Winning a civil rights lawsuit against the county and protecting our right to free speech
“A union is a union of individuals, organized and working together for a common, collective goal,” said Denise. “And that’s the approach we took to win for OUR union.”
SEIU 521 Chief of Staff Luisa Blue attended the event and commended members for their stellar victories.
“I commend all of you for all the hard work that you’ve done,” Luisa said. “Without the services that you provide, our communities cannot survive. I encourage all of you to continue organizing yourselves. Talk to your co-workers. Stick together and we will prevail.”
521 Regional Vice President Matt Nathanson and our 521 attorney Kerianne Steel provided an overview of pension reform and how it will affect San Benito County members.
“The reality is that the economy tanked,” Matt said. “What’s important to know is that CalPERs is still very stable. It’s still very solid. We all have an interest in our pensions. We have no interest in seeing it go bankrupt.”
Our SEIU Region 2 Director Debbie Narvaez also gave a presentation of upcoming elections and why it’s critical that workers vote NO on 32 and YES on 30.
San Benito County Chapter President Martha Booker informed members about upcoming negotiations and the need to stay engaged.
“Next year we will face a challenge unlike anything we have experienced before,” Martha said. “On July 1, 2013, our contract will expire and everything that matters will be subject to re-negotiation. Either the county will take away what we have, or we will unite to protect what we have and demand the dignity and respect we deserve. There is a lot of work to be done, but if we work together and are united, I am confident we will come out stronger and have a contract that protects us well into the future.”