Together We Rise Newsletter – January 2018

Together We Rise

JOIN UP: Our Campaign to Fight the “Right-to-Work” (For Less)

Union-DifferenceModern “right-to-work” policies are being pushed by the Freedom Foundation (funded by the Koch Brothers) and other radical anti-worker groups and individuals. This attack on working families will allow employers to lower wages and take home bigger profits. After Wisconsin went “right-to-work,” public sector workers suffered huge pay-cuts, saw their benefits slashed, and took a step backwards to dangerous working conditions. In February, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case that will weaken the rights of all public employees, called Janus v. AFSCME. This means that workers in California will soon face the same fight as workers in Wisconsin.

Working people do better when we stick together. When we join together to form labor unions, we use our collective power to ensure that we have a voice at work – without unions, we wouldn’t be able to hold our bosses accountable, and ensure that we receive fair wages, good benefits and safe working conditions. Your union membership is an investment in the value of your work.

We’re not going to let anything stop us from standing up for the rights of working people. Find out more at

Debbie Acosta“SEIU 521 members need to talk to all of their coworkers this year. Even if someone has never shown interest in the union, this is the year to have the conversation. If we can build our union now, we can thrive into the future.”
– Debbie Acosta
Fresno Unified School District Chapter Secretary/Treasurer and SEIU 521 Executive Board Delegate (Third from left in the photo, taken at the State Capitol)

2018 SEIU Local 521 Scholarship

It pays to become an SEIU 521 member! Not only because the higher our membership is, the stronger we are at the negotiating table, but also because you get access to exclusive member benefits such as scholarships.
Visit and today!

RISE UP: Building Unity & Power

Kern County ChapterKern County members voted “YES” in December to ratify a new two-year contract with the county. This agreement was not easily reached, but we mobilized and put enough pressure on the County of Kern to win one additional holiday, three paid closure days during the holidays in 2017 and 2018, and a bonus for every member. We kept our “me too” clause, and protected healthcare and retirement. We also won language improvements to protect workers in their evaluations, protect workers from retaliation and intimidation for filing complaints, and provide release time to train leaders that will help us advocate for our rights on the job.

Going into 2018, Kern County members will continue to pull together, and build unity and power to take advantage of the opportunities outlined in this contract. Winning a strong contract is only half of the fight; we need stewards in the workplace to hold management accountable and make sure our contract is enforced.
Sign up to become a steward today:

WIN: Protecting Our Retirement

FCERASEIU 521 members Riley Talford and John Adams were elected to leadership positions on the board of the Fresno County Employees’ Retirement Association (FCERA). The race was close, with John Adams winning by only one vote. Every single vote truly counted in this election and members did the hard work to get out the vote.

As frontline workers themselves, Riley and John are committed to putting members’ interests first and protecting our retirement. They plan to implement wise investment strategies to fund our retirement, and will foster a culture of transparency and open communication between FCERA and Fresno County workers. This victory is proof that when we stick together, we win. The FCERA election is just the beginning – as a union, our next step is to bargain for a new employee contract that invests in the frontline workers that serve Fresno County. Let’s carry this unity forward into 2018!

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