Ending the “Cruel Summer” One Step Closer to Law for School Workers

SEIU CALIFORNIA
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 29, 2017

ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE TAKES ACTION TO END “CRUEL SUMMER” FOR SCHOOL WORKERS

Sacramento, CA – The Assembly Committee on Public Employees, Retirement, and Social Security approved AB 621 (Bocanegra) today, making the legislation to end the “cruel summer” facing classified school workers one step closer to law.

“AB 621’s ‘Summer Bridge’ fund is a crucial step toward ending the hunger and anxiety classified school workers experience each summer when their income drops to zero,” said SEIU Local 99 Executive Director Max Arias. “We are encouraged that the Assembly Public Employees, Retirement, and Social Security committee has recognized that the people who are crucial to our children’s education should not have to rely on food stamps to get through the summer months.”

From school secretaries to cafeteria staff, janitors, and bus drivers, classified workers are a crucial part of the learning experience for our students in K-12 schools. They are so invested in our student’s success, many Californians are unaware that when school lets out for the summer, classified staff pay goes away. With earnings of just $20,700 on average each year, many are forced to rely on food stamps, church closets or food banks to get by because they are the only seasonal or periodic workers who are excluded from the unemployment insurance system that fills unemployment gaps for all other such workers.

“Each year, when schools let out for summer break, classified employees are left unemployed and without benefits to carry themselves through the summer. And furthermore, employers are reluctant to hire and invest in a short-term employee,” said Assemblymember Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima). “AB 621 will help classified workers support their families during recess periods, and help bridge the financial gap that they face during the summer months.”

AB 621 (Bocanegra), the Classified Employee Summer Bridge Fund, establishes a contribution account where the state and the employees will contribute on a 2:1 ratio to address the disparity faced by classified workers’ exclusion from unemployment insurance and to bridge the financial burden classified employees face each summer. The voluntary, partially self-funded account will allow classified employees to contribute a small portion of their paycheck that will be matched 2:1 by the state.

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