A Message from Riko Mendez, Chief Elected Officer
After dozens of meetings and conversations with union members across our local, my belief that we have what it takes to build a union that thrives into the future has been reaffirmed.
We face many challenges ahead, from bosses that are always trying to find a way around our hard-fought contracts, to the threat of massive federal budget cuts, to fights for our healthcare, and finally to looming attacks against our right to have a collective voice at work.
We have a vibrant rank and file membership that is ready to lead, and I will make it my priority to ensure that we build a union where member leadership is at the core of what we do. If we unite behind our common goal and vision for a more just society we will overcome these challenges, hence our new localwide newsletter, “Together We Rise.”
Read the CEO’s full report here: www.seiu521.org/ceo
Labor Day is meant to be more than an apolitical picnic in the park. This year, we’re teaming up with social justice activists across the country to remind America that WE NEED UNIONS. On Monday, Sept. 4, we will march in Bakersfield, Fresno, San Jose, and Watsonville to unite our communities in the fight against a rigged economy.
Nowhere is the need for a union more prevalent than in the child care sector. The workers at Community Child Care Council (4Cs) of Santa Clara County have been fighting for a first contract for almost two years, and employees who have spoken up for themselves continually face retaliation. Despite 20 years of exemplary service, Mario Del Castillo has been fired after he spoke up publicly against the suspected mismanagement at 4Cs. Without a union contract, workers are at their boss’ mercy. We need to show that we stand together against bullying, intimidation, and retaliation.
This Labor Day, celebrate LABOR and join us in saying America Needs Unions! We will march in solidarity with the Fight For $15 movement, early child care educators, public sector workers, and working families nationwide.
Learn more at www.seiu521.org/laborday
Kern County Workers Rise Up Together
Veronica Vasquez, our newly elected Kern County Chapter President, has helped reignite the membership in Kern County with her passion and leadership. Since taking office, she has recruited new members, led worksite actions, and even participated in a panel at a Right to Win summit in Los Angeles.
Despite her new activism, Veronica has worked for Kern County for 14 years. Her family comes from the farm worker movement so she’s no stranger to the workers’ rights movement. Until recently, she had never been engaged. Now she’s willing to stand and fight in the most conservative part of our local. There are hundreds of SEIU-represented workers who share a similar story. She is the proof that they exist and simply need someone to connect them. How are you connecting with your coworkers to find the next leader?
Follow her and the Kern County contract campaign on our Facebook page: fb.com/SEIU521Region5
Liliana Chavez (left in the photo) returned to work at Salud Para La Gente in Watsonville on July 31, after filing a grievance under her SEIU contract. Liliana and her union steward Adriana Huerta (right) met with the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Salud Para La Gente and explained in detail why the decision to terminate Liliana was improper.
Without a union and stewards that fight for our rights, workers would have no recourse when they are improperly terminated.
Get involved as a steward at your worksite to help your coworkers stand up for themselves!
SAVE THE DATE
SEIU 521 is a democratically-run, member-driven organization. That means members govern and are at the heart of every decision in our union. Every three years, we elect delegates to come together, review our progress, and help develop our priorities for the coming years.
Learn more: www.seiu521.org/convention
What would you like to read in our next “Together We Rise” newsletter?
Send your ideas and suggestions to email@example.com.