COPE Newsletter – July 2013




Welcome, Sisters and Brothers, to the very first issue of our local-wide newsletter for members of the Committee On Political Education, or “COPE.”
This newsletter aims to be a resource for members and to highlight what is happening politically around SEIU Local 521. Among our local’s 17 counties, we share state and federal legislators, and we are also united through our victories as we engage in organizing and political work to win big for all workers.

This is the place where members can share victories with each other or exchange best political practices from Bakersfield to San Mateo. When workers unite, organize, and mobilize, we can decide elections and help set social policies that improve the lives for working families.
We hope you enjoy this first issue which will be e-published periodically. And please contribute to its contents if you have something interesting to share from your region. Submit ideas and story entries to

Feel free to forward this COPE newsletter to any SEIU 521 member who didn’t receive it. Tell them subscription is free… all they need to do is sign up for COPE!

Did You Know?

Q: What do Lindsay City Council member Rosaena Sanchez, Farmersville City Council member Greg Gomez, Hartnell College Trustee Ray Montemayor, Monterey County Supervisor Fernando Armenta all have in common?

Scroll down to see the answer.

COPE-news-jul2013-01State Budget Battle Ends in Compromise, Passage of Medi-Cal Bills
Governor Jerry Brown signed the state budget on Thursday, June 27th, marking the end of a contentious battle between California Unions and the Governor over how Covered California, the newly minted health insurance exchanges and expanded Medi-Cal, would be funded. The signing of the budget also brings to an end the years of major budget cuts. The work that we did in 2012 to pass Prop 30 and defeat Prop 32 has resulted in the first budget surplus in years.

For a breakdown of the state budget follow this link.

COPE-news-jul2013-02A chance to elect a labor leader to Santa Clara County BOS
Santa Clara County members are hard at work to elect labor champion Cindy Chavez to the County Board of Supervisors. Chavez is in a runoff with Teresa Alvarado, daughter of a former Santa Clara County Supervisor. With the election on July 30, an anti-Chavez smear campaign is underway and we need working families to stand up and fight back.

Winning this election is the top priority. We need more volunteers to bring Chavez to victory. Anti-labor forces are funneling thousands of dollars into an increasingly nasty smear campaign and your help is needed for us to win. Contact your union organizer or the South Bay Labor for more information on how you can help Cindy become our next County Supervisor.
Join us…

COPE-news-jul2013-03Salinas to Bakersfield: Eliseo Medina and SEIU 521 members fight for immigration reform
SEIU Local 521 members have been fighting hard to stand up for the rights of all workers. Now that the Senate has passed its immigration reform bill, all eyes are on Rep. Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield to see if he can wrangle the members of the Republican Caucus to do the right thing.

Local 521 members participated in multiple actions and delegations to the Congressman’s office in recent months. Local 521 members in the Monterey Bay area got a visit from International Vice President, Eliseo Medina, on June 2nd. Medina was in Salinas to co-host an immigration reform town hall with 20th Congressional District Representative, Sam Farr. He spoke before the town hall to a packed room of approximately 100 SEIU members and labor supporters from around the bay. Medina spoke of the connection between the fight for immigrants rights and the fight for workers’ rights. He laid out perfectly the reasons that SEIU is taking the lead in the fight to reform our immigration policies and include a path to citizenship.
Read more…

COPE-news-jul2013-04Huge opportunity for labor to win state Senate seat in Bakersfield
The biggest election in the state this summer is the special election to fill the seat vacated by Bakersfield Senator Mike Rubio. Labor ally, Leticia Perez, is in a runoff against anti-labor candidate, Andy Vidak, to finish the remainder of Rubio’s term in the Senate. Who will win? You decide. Help Get Out the Vote!

The winner of this contest will have an advantage going into the November, 2014 election to represent the newly drawn South San Joaquin Valley Senate District. More important, electing Perez will maintain a 2/3rds supermajority for labor-supporting legislators in the Senate. This supermajority is critical to our ability to fund vital public services in California. The special election will take place on Tuesday, July 23. We are actively calling voters from our Bakersfield office. Contact Community/Political Organizer, Ann Cervantes, to learn how you can help.


First meeting of the Fresno Hmong Coalition

Local Launches API Voter Project in Fresno
Hot off the success of our Vietnamese voter project, where we helped to register 10,000 new Vietnamese-American voters, we now have a project in Fresno to join forces with the Asian Pacific Islander (API) community to double the percentage of API voters in Fresno County. Overall, Asians and Pacific Islanders make up only 5% of the registered voters in Fresno County. Doubling that number would bring the total number of registered API voters to more than 45,000, representing an important voting bloc when mobilized.

With anti-labor, anti-community service politicians coming out of Fresno, mobilizing unregistered voters is more important than ever. Our political staff has begun to meet with a coalition of active API community groups to create the plan to register the new voters. Stay tuned for updates and for opportunities to get involved.

COPE-news-jul2013-06Member Spotlight
Rosaena Sanchez is a member on the move. She became involved in City of Lindsay politics when she saw that cronyism had taken over her beloved city. She organized a recall effort against the members of the city council over their inaction in dealing with skyrocketing water rates. In November of 2012, with the help of a SEIU 521 endorsement and a union supported campaign, Rosaena was elected to the Lindsay City Council with more votes than any other candidate. She is doing amazing work for the citizens of Lindsay and for the 31 City of Lindsay workers that SEIU 521 represents. We congratulate Rosaena and wish her a successful career in local government.

Did You Know?

Q: What do Lindsay City Council member Rosaena Sanchez, Farmersville City Council member Greg Gomez, Hartnell College Trustee Ray Montemayor, Monterey County Supervisor Fernando Armenta all have in common?

A: They are all current or former SEIU 521 members.

Are you interested in running for office?

Contact Community Political Organizer Adam Urrutia at to find out about candidate academy trainings put on by our local Central Labor Councils and how you can get involved in local elected government.

COPE Meeting Calendar

Region 1

  • San Jose: Tuesday, July 2, 5:30 p.m.
    SEIU 521, 2302 Zanker Road, San Jose, CA 95131
    RSVP at (408) 678-3363 or
  • San Carlos: Thursday, July 11, 5:30 p.m.
    SEIU 521, 981 Industrial Rd., Suite A, San Carlos, CA 94070
    RSVP at (650) 801-3500 or

Region 2

  • Salinas: Wednesday, July 24, 5:30 p.m.
    SEIU 521, 517B Mission Street, Santa Cruz, CA, 95060
    RSVP at (831) 784-2560 or
  • Santa Cruz: Thursday, July 25, 6:00 p.m.
    SEIU 521, 517B Mission Street, Santa Cruz, CA, 95060
    RSVP at (831) 824-9255 or

Region 5
Visalia: Tuesday, July 9, 6:00 p.m.
SEIU 521, 1811 Sunnyside Ave., Visalia, CA 93277
RSVP at (559) 635-3720

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