Sacred Heart workers are dedicated to improving the lives of the vulnerable
members of our community, and work tirelessly to create a world without poverty. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t also need a strong, collective voice on the job so we can speak up for the well-being of ourselves and our loved ones.
That’s why, in March of 2018, workers at Sacred Heart Community Service voted almost unanimously to form their union and join SEIU 521. And after months of negotiations with management, we ratified our first-ever union contract in November!
The organizing drive at Sacred Heart and the outpouring of support during the ratification vote are fantastic reminders of the power that working people have when we stick together. It was solidarity and support from frontline staff at Sacred Heart that made it possible to win this first contract.
“I feel so awesome today. It’s been a long time coming, and finally we have our voice. Many people never believed we would get to this point, but it shows that we can accomplish so much when we’re united. It’s not about us against them, but about what we can do together. I’m looking forward o making Sacred Heart a better place for us all to come and enjoy our work,” said Adriana, a Sacred Heart worker and leader throughout the election and negotiations.
In the newly-ratified contract, Sacred Heart workers won significant pay increases every year of the contract, as well as language in their contract that ensures no worker is paid less than $21 per hour. We also won increased job security and guaranteed severance pay if layoffs ever are necessary. With cost of living in San Jose being as high as it is, this victory is a huge step towards making sure workers at Sacred Heart are able to keep food on the table and a roof over the heads of our loved ones.
Most importantly, forming a union at work gives working people a voice in decisions at work. In our new contract, we’ve won a grievance procedure and a new Labor Management Committee that will meet regularly so that frontline staff have a voice at work and protection against unfair treatment. We also have the ability to appeal discipline and termination, and have a union representative present in meetings that could lead to discipline.
“I’m happy that we came together as a group. From personal experience, I think having the protection of our union is a bonus. Now, I feel like we’re all moving in the same direction and have a voice,” said Arely, a Sacred Heart worker.
Her coworker Alejandra added, “Coming in to Sacred Heart as a new hire, I was very surprised that there wasn’t a clear process on how to lay-offs or discipline worked. I was expecting more support and direction when I was hired and am very glad we have our union moving forward.”
Forming a union is the only way for working people to have a voice to speak up for the wages, working conditions, and benefits that we need to take care of our families and our loved ones. Are you ready to make a difference where you work and want to learn how you can join the 40,000 other workers represented by SEIU 521? Give us a call at 408-678-3300 and ask to speak to a member of our Organizing Department.
The child care crisis is not imaginary; it has real consequences for real children. That’s why, on October 4, hundreds of SEIU 521 Family Child Care Providers took part in a National Day of Action calling for #ChildCareForAll and #UnionsForAll. More than 600 people rallied in support throughout SEIU 521.
In Watsonville, San Jose, and Fresno, Family Child Care Providers joined other non-union workers, as well as fellow members of SEIU 521, to proclaim that we won’t give up until we win quality, affordable child care and union rights for all workers.
The Raising California Together coalition brought child care to the capitol…literally! The coalition erected a mock child care outside of the State Capitol to showcase the important work family child care providers do. Family child care providers Pam Sharp and Nancy Gray brought their classrooms to the capitol and shared early learning strategies that demonstrate how important quality child care is for working women and their children.
In addition to the pop-up child care center, providers participated in a series of lobby visits at the Capitol to call for Governor Brown’s signature on SB 548 (De León). Parents, providers and advocates know that SB548 represents an important opportunity for hard-working women in California and must be a top legislative priority.
SB 548 would allow child care providers to collectively bargain for improvements to a child care system in crisis. Early educators who provide care through the state’s patchwork child care system are paid an average of $4.98 an hour, destabilizing a workforce that has lost 30% of the state’s providers since 2007.
Today, one million children lack access to the early learning that builds their brains and prepares them for success in K-12 learning and beyond.
The most powerful way to connect with workers is through our stories and experiences as members of SEIU Local 521. Only members can talk about the real union difference and how it impacts our wages, benefits and quality of life.
*Member organizers will receive training and have fun making a serious difference in the lives of working families.
*Workshops will focus on real-life organizing opportunities and challenges.
*Get hands-on experience on current SEIU Local 521 organizing campaigns and help make a difference in the lives of unorganized workers.
“SEIU Local 521 is committed to empowering unorganized workers and giving them a strong voice to make real improvements to their profession and quality of life. But it’s up to us, the members, to show workers the true power of the union difference. We are living, breathing examples of what we can accomplish together.” -Jennifer Jensen, Chair, Member Action Program.
Interested in joining the Member Action Program? You can print and fill out the sign-up form here.
Phone: Jennifer Jensen, Member Action Program Chair, (559) 704-8384; Jenny Garibay, Organizer, (661) 492-1576