Central Valley Workers and Allies Reclaim Labor Day in Fresno

SEIU Local 521
Monday, September 3, 2018

Contact: Victor Gamiz

Central Valley Workers and Allies Reclaim Labor Day in Fresno
Celebrating Union Contributions to the Central Valley Community

(Fresno, CA) In the face of growing attacks from wealthy special interests and billionaires, hard-working people rose up today and celebrated the vital contributions we make to life in the Central Valley during a Labor Day event organized for the community by: SEIU 1000, SEIU 2015, SEIU 521, and Mi Familia Vota.

The celebration included a rally that energized the crowd of county and hospital workers, long-term care workers, families and community leaders. There was a voter registration booth and other community resources available for attendees.

“Labor Day is more than a celebration of the great things unions have achieved for all of us, but how we continue to work towards creating the conditions that allow everyone to work and live with dignity and respect today and tomorrow”, said Martha Valladares, Long-Term Care Provider from SEIU Local 2015.

Family Child Care Providers also rallied among the community and shared their fight to have a union and the right to collectively bargain.

“We as Family Child Care Providers are fighting to improve our lives. We know that together, with community support our strength in action can win us collective bargaining rights and a seat at the table”,  said Marcella Graves. “It is shameful that we are not covered by basic things like the minimum wage and workplace safety rules. We do not receive any health benefits, and do not have access to workplace retirement programs. Too often, family child care providers find ourselves earning poverty wages and being unable to support our own families. We are proud to stand with our union brothers and sisters today on Labor Day as we continue our fight to win”.

California is seen as the leading-edge state for policies that support the diverse working families that make up our communities, and Labor Day kicks off an election season that is being watched more than most. Elected officials and candidates including Jim Avalos, City of Selma Mayor, Eddie Valero, Tulare County Board of Supervisor District 4, and Andrew Janz, Candidate for Congressional District 22 and Assemblymember Anna Caballero, Candidate for State Senate District 12 were in attendance to show their support for union rights.

According to a recent study by the UC Berkeley Labor Center, our unions help improve the wages and benefits of all workers in California – both union and nonunion[1] – as well as help address racial and gender inequality. On average, California’s union women earn 26% more than nonunion women. Similarly, Black workers earn 19% more and Latino/a workers earn 40% more on average under a union contract[2].

Gwyn Harshaw, SEIU 521 Local President closed the ceremony with a message to the community as the midterm elections approach, “Working people in our area from all walks of life are sticking together to fight for our future, just like we won better wages, safer workplaces, and civil rights in our past. By joining together, we can elect leaders who work for all of us, not just the wealthy few.  We thank our elected officials and candidates who stand with us here today, but it is up to us to hold these individuals accountable.”

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