Members Advocate for a Living Wage for Non-Profits

Living Wage for Nonprofits

County Workers Julie Wood (L) and Mullissa Willette (R) at the Santa Clara County Board Chambers

SEIU 521 members attended a public hearing on Tuesday, March 7 to speak up for a living wage policy covering nonprofit agencies that Santa Clara County contracts with.

Julie Wood

Julie Wood

Santa Clara County, in collaboration with community allies and SEIU Local 521, passed the most comprehensive Living Wage Ordinance in the country for the employees of county contractors in December 2014. The County is now close to finalizing the policy that determines how that ordinance will apply to nonprofit contractors, where many of our SEIU Local 521 members work.

Supervisor Cindy Chavez convened the second of two public forums on March 7 to gather community input as the county considers extending the living wage policy to cover nonprofits contracted with the county where SEIU members work in behavioral, primary and specialty health care and social services helping some of the most vulnerable clients in the county.

“SEIU Local 521 strongly supports the finalization of a Living Wage Policy for employees of nonprofit contractors. However, we believe that the draft policy can be strengthened to realize the promise of the County’s comprehensive Living Wage Ordinance.”
– Riko Mendez, SEIU 521 Chief Elected Officer (CEO)

As CEO Riko Mendez wrote in a letter to the County, SEIU 521 is urging for the policy to “cover the greatest number of workers and families, for the greatest good.”
Read the official letter addressing the issue.

Speaking in strong support of the full implementation of a Living Wage Policy for nonprofits were SEIU 521 Members Julie Wood, Mullissa Willette, both County workers, and Joan Goddard, retired Librarian.


Joan Goddard

“Wonderful workers at nonprofit organizations cannot afford to work for less than a living wage! At the end of the day, it’s our public tax dollars that fund contracts with the non-profit organizations. And public funds should go towards putting our Community First!”
– Joan Goddard, Retired Librarian

Mullissa Willette

Mullissa Willette

“Truthfully, we can’t draw a line between where workers end and where the community begins. Because of that, I want to ensure that this Living Wage Policy touches as many workers, families and communities as possible. Limitations, exemptions, and reductions in wage rates should be used only where absolutely necessary.”
– Mullissa Willette, Santa Clara County Exemptions Investigator

The draft policy will now be revised based on the input stakeholders provided at this forum. Next, the draft policy will be heard by the Board of Supervisors’ Children, Seniors and Families Committee (CSFC) in April or May of 2017.

Stay tuned for updates! We will need more member and community support to win a truly comprehensive living wage.

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