California School Workers One Step Closer to Summer Relief

School workersWith back to school on parents’ minds, relief to school workers during the summer is closer to becoming a reality, thanks to our continuous efforts!

Classified school workers provide the clean campuses, healthy food, sanitary bathrooms, safe and on-time bus rides, assistance in the classroom and supervision in the playground, etc., all necessary basics for student success. Unfortunately, when school is out of session, these education workers don’t currently receive any income and are denied unemployment insurance and it’s often difficult to find temporary replacement work.

“Summertime is incredibly difficult for school workers who struggle financially, sometimes facing hunger, eviction or other hardships. I am proud of the work of SEIU members to help alleviate the cruel summer they are facing each year.”
– Gwyn Harshaw, Former Bus Driver and SEIU President

284,000 classified school workers in California, including SEIU members, stand to soon finally benefit from a bill that would make it possible for school workers to receive unemployment insurance during the summer.

The state Senate Appropriations Committee passed the Summer Unemployment Insurance for School Workers Bill (AB 2197) on Aug. 11, moving it on to its first hearing by the full Senate. Once passed by the legislature, Gov. Brown has until Sept. 30 to sign the bill into law.

School workers from SEIU Locals 521, 99, 1021, and 221 in San Jose, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and other cities across the state joined together in the fight to move this bill forward. This is proof that we are stronger together!

Throughout the summer, SEIU members lifted the voices of working families by meeting with senators, emailing legislators and speaking out on social media. 

What’s Next?

Even though this was a major milestone in our fight and we’ve made great strides in raising awareness among legislators of the broken unemployment system for school workers, we aren’t there yet.

This is what needs to happen next in order for us to win:
1. The full Senate must pass the bill.
2. The Governor has until Sept. 30 to sign or veto the bill.
3. If the Governor signs the bill, then in 2017, we will fight to make sure that funding for our unemployment insurance is included in the state budget.

We will continue to speak out to make sure the bill becomes law, and ensure funding for benefits is included in the next state budget.

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