Together We Rise Newsletter – Feb. 2019

In this issue:

  • JOIN UP: Palo Alto Must Address Retention Issues Affecting Services
  • SEIU Member Benefits: Tax Season & 2019 Ann Cervantes Scholarship
  • RISE UP: ‘Building a Better Early Care and Education System Act’
  • WIN: Fresno Unified Transportation Workers Get Backpay

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JOIN UP: Palo Alto Must Address Retention Issues
Affecting Services

Palo Alto Bargaining Team

Palo Alto is one of the most expensive cities in Silicon Valley, and nearly all of our job classifications are below average in total compensation; this is unacceptable for such an affluent city. Increased vacancies put unfair and unsustainable burdens on our staff, many of whom are working overtime without adequate rest to continue to deliver city services. This risks the safety not only of our members but of the residents of Palo Alto as well.

“We have been without a contract since the end of 2018! Our city services are in jeopardy as our employees are leaving for opportunities with better pay and benefits. Meanwhile, remaining staff is overworked and, on top of that, is tasked with the work of many due to all the vacancies piling up.”
— Alison de Geus, Palo Alto Bargaining Team Member

Show your support:

For example, the Utilities Department lost two of their veteran Compliance Technicians in December, taking with them institutional knowledge and leaving behind one technician to perform the work of three. Compliance Technicians are responsible for conducting all required safety and service reliability inspections of overhead and underground electrical lines throughout the city to ensure compliance with the State of California safety codes.

Not only do the retention issues strain our workforce and affect services, but these issues increase the city’s costs of attracting new employees, including recruitment, hiring, and training. Many SEIU workers currently commute from great distances due to the extremely high cost of living in and around Palo Alto. Our public services are at risk as we continue to lose experienced workers. We are fighting for a fair contract that values the excellent work our members do to provide high-quality services to the residents of Palo Alto.

SEIU Member Benefits

It’s Tax Season – SEIU Member Benefits and H&R Block have joined forces to offer special discounts and pricing on tax preparation:

2019 Ann Cervantes Scholarship — SEIU 521 members and their children are eligible for the Ann Cervantes Scholarship, which provides 10 winners with $1,500 each for their first year of study. Applications are due by April 30, 2019.
Learn more:

RISE UP: ‘Building a Better Early Care and Education System Act’

Family Child Care Rally

A loud call for the right to collective bargaining was clear throughout the state on February 6, as nearly 300 Family Child Care Providers, parents, children, and supporters descended on our state capitol urging lawmakers to ensure #ChildCareForAll. Family Child Care Providers with SEIU 521, SEIU 99 and UDW-AFSCME surrounded Assemblywoman Monique Limón (D-Santa Barbara) as she introduced AB 378 – The Building a Better Early Care and Education System Act – during the rally.

AB 378 will allow at least 40,000 early childhood educators to join providers in 11 other states who are able to negotiate with the state for improvements to the early childhood education system. This includes increasing access for low-income children and families who cannot afford the rising cost of child care – now estimated at as much as $14,000 a year per child in California – and helping providers to be able to support their own families, since they currently do not receive health benefits and earn low wages paid by the state.

“It was empowering to visit with our state lawmakers, with whom we had the opportunity to talk about and show the crucial work that we, as Family Child Care Providers, do every day for California children and families. We now expect to see the whole value put behind words through full-fledged support of AB 378.”
— Nancy Harvey, Family Child Care Provider in Oakland & SEIU 521 Member

Join the movement to build a better early care and education system for California children:

WIN: Fresno Unified Transportation Workers Get Backpay

During our last negotiations with Fresno Unified School District (FUSD), the Transportation Department won stronger language that ensures fair distribution of overtime for drivers. However, management was not following the proper protocols and violated key aspects of our union contract. We filed a grievance in March 2018, and a settlement was agreed upon in January 2019 resulting in a $20,000 backpay win to be distributed to transportation members included in the grievance.

FUSD Transportation“Our collective efforts to hold management accountable is a testament to our unity and strength. This win could not have been accomplished if it were not for our Shop Steward Amalia Johns, and all our members willing to speak out about the violations to our contract. Our union is here to educate, support, and lead us to obtain the best possible working conditions. We will continue to work together to do what’s right for our drivers who play an important role in the education of our children.”
— Diana Branco, FUSD Transportation & Member Leader


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