Silicon Valley Workers and Allies Reclaim Labor Day

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Contact: Valerie Prigent,, 408-571-9894

Silicon Valley Workers and Allies Reclaim Labor Day

Celebrating Union Contributions to the South Bay Community

(San Jose, CA) In the face of growing attacks from wealthy special interests and billionaires, union members and their allies held a Labor Day Weekend Celebration of the vital contributions workers make to life in the South Bay on Saturday, September 1st.

This was one of four Labor Day events and marches organized by SEIU Local 521 in Central California at a time when workers across the country are rising up against anti-union politicians and policies. The celebration in San Jose included voter registration and speeches that energized the crowd of county workers, child care providers, fast food workers, and community leaders.

Family child care providers were joined by fast-food workers who lead the successful Fight For $15 campaign to speak about their common fight to have a union and the right to collectively bargain.
“As a Family Child Care Provider fighting for our rights to advocate for our own livelihoods and quality early education, I am proud to see my fellow union brothers and sisters stand beside us today. We know the strength of unions in action, particularly for working women and mothers like us. We know that Silicon Valley and America need unions,” said San Jose Family Child Care Provider Patricia Moran.

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 including Ken Yeager, Santa Clara County Supervisor for District 4, Cindy Chavez, Santa Clara County Supervisor for District 2, Priya Mathur, CalPERS Board President, Maimona Afzal Berta, Franklin McKinley School District Board Member, Omar Torres, Franklin McKinley School District Vice President, Lenny Siegel, Mayor of City of Mountain View, Gustav Larsson, Sunnyvale City Councilmember, as well as candidates such as Maya Esparza, San Jose City Council, Peter Ortiz, Santa Clara County Board of Education, Ellen Kamei, Mountain View City Council, Andres Quintero, Alum Rock School Board, Raymond Mueller, Alum Rock School Board, Kristin Rivers, East Side Union High School District Board, Patrick Ahrens, Foothill-De Anza Community College Board, Michael Tsai, Milpitas School Board, all publicly expressed their support for union rights.

This event was also attended by partners and allies who set up booths for the community including Fight for $15, SEIU United Service Workers West (SEIU-USWW), Santa Clara County Democratic Party, Valley Medical Center, Santa Clara County Vector Control, Valley Transportation Agency, Gardner Health Services, and SEIU Latino Caucus.

“Today, at the beginning of the Labor Day weekend, we celebrate the contributions of union workers to our communities. Unions represent the last frontier for protecting wages and benefits in this country and I am committed to supporting union rights. We should make it easier to join and form unions,” said Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez.

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].

“Union workers are public servants, transportation workers, healthcare and behavioral health specialists, private-sector workers, child care providers, school workers, and more. Silicon Valley is a better place to live, work, and raise a family because of the difference our unions make in this community. But that’s not all. At a time when some seek to divide us, we lift all workers up, so that we can provide better lives for our families, whether Black, white, or brown. That’s why we have reclaimed Labor Day as our holiday. Today, we celebrate the victories and history of the labor movement, while especially recognizing the contributions our unions make right here in Silicon Valley,” said Santa Clara County Worker Mullissa Willette.

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Service Employees International Union, Local 521 represents 40,000 public- and nonprofit, private-sector workers in the California’s central Bay Area region and in the Central Valley. Under a Community First vision, we are committed to making sure the needs of our community, and the vital services we provide our community, come first. We believe our communities thrive when residents, leaders and workers recognize that we are all in this together when it comes to our safety, health, and well-being.

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