February 13, 2014

The Silver Lining of a Disappointing Election Day

SEIU David Alvarez Super Walk Mobile Photo

San Diego, CA – Our endorsed candidate for mayor, David Alvarez, lost the special election on Tuesday night, which took many of us by surprise. Ultimately, it was just too difficult get so-called “infrequent voters” engaged and turned out for an election 7 weeks after Christmas.

The silver lining of this outcome is the great participation of SEIU members, the labor movement and our allies in the community. Over 1200 people were out doing campaign work over the final four days! We were honored to have SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry come in the Saturday before the election to help fire up the troops. Together, we built an unprecedented coalition that will have the strength to win future struggles for workers and communities at the workplace, in our neighborhoods and at the ballot box.

SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry at GOTV Super Walk SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry speaks to volunteers
at the GOTV Super Walk for David Alvarez. 

We aren’t going to win every election, but our local was proud to get behind David Alvarez, a true champion for working families. Finally, we congratulate Kevin Faulconer on his victory and look forward to working with him to fight for all San Diegans and all neighborhoods.

SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry chats with SEIU Local 221 Organizer Chad Elbandagji backstage at the GOTV Super Walk for David Alvarez SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry chats with SEIU Local 221 Organizer Chad Elbandagji backstage at the GOTV Super Walk for David Alvarez. 

Thanks again to all that helped, and get ready to keep organizing!

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Union Members Enforce Contract with First Group Grievance Since Negotiations

SEIU Local 221 Logo

County: Workers Can Request Overtime Pay or Comp Time

San Diego, CA – Last year, SEIU Local 221 members fought hard for a stronger contract that included each employee’s right to request cash payment or compensatory time off for overtime worked. SEIU Local 221 requests are subject to funding availability, but management cannot issue blanket directives on what type of overtime work qualifies for cash pay.

Child Welfare Services (CWS) Director, Debra Zanders-Willis, issued an order via email that violated our MOA by directing managers to “restrict paid overtime” to specific activities. SEIU 221 members took a stand. We enforced our new contract by collecting signatures and filing a group grievance. On January 27th, we found out that as a result of taking action and standing together, we protected our right to request cash pay or comp time for overtime worked.

The County of San Diego is sending an email directing all CWS supervisors and managers to disregard Debra Zanders-Willis’ email restricting overtime pay, and to follow the terms specified in the contract.


“We work hard to keep children safe in San Diego County. We deserve fair compensation. In 2013, the SW bargaining team won stronger language when requesting comp time or overtime pay for working additional hours. But that’s just the beginning. In 2014, let’s keep up the momentum by building a stronger union that benefits our families and the children and communities we serve.”

– Jesus Gonzalez, Protective Services Worker, SEIU Local 221 Steward

A PDF flyer of the above post can be found below.

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