November 2014

Victory: SDCERA Votes 8-1 To Move Towards In-House CIO


SEIU Local 221 members collected over 1,000 petition signatures, testified three times before the board, and fought hard to preserve retirement security for ALL County employees.

Next Step, Fire Lee Partridge!

On Friday, November 21st, the SDCERA board voted to return to an internal CIO model to manage the $10 Billion County employee retirement fund. We are proud of the continued dedication our SEIU Local 221 brothers and sisters have shown over the past few months. SEIU Local 221 members collected over 1,000 petition signatures, testified three times before the board, and fought hard to preserve retirement security for ALL County employees.

Our work, however, is not done. Although the motion was voted through 8-1, the vote comes barely two months after the SDCERA board had agreed to keep the contract with Salient Partners by just one vote. Even though the recent landslide vote signals that our work towards defending retirement security is having a significant impact, we still have a long way to go.

We need to stay active, stay vigilant and make sure that the board continues to move in the right direction. We are continuing to circulate the petition at work and call on the SDCERA board to:

  • Fire CIO Lee Partridge and Salient Partners
  • Stop paying exorbitant fees
  • Eliminate high-leverage investment strategies from its portfolio

For more information and to get involved, please contact Worksite Organizer, Liz DeRoulet, at or (760) 717-4206

To download the flyer, click here.


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We Must Redouble Our Fight for Justice

SEIU California Statement on No Charges in the Killing of Michael Brown

Statement of Laphonza Butler, President of SEIU California and SEIU United Long Term Care Workers (ULTCW) on no charges being filed in the killing of Michael Brown.

SEIU members in California join millions of Americans in outrage at the failure of our justice system and in mourning the lives of Michael Brown and other young men of color who have been killed by police in this country.

Injustice in law enforcement, sentencing, and throughout our judicial system is one of the pillars holding up an unjust society, and we are committed to bringing that structure of injustice down.

As union members we fight for justice and dignity not only at work but in every aspect of our lives: in our neighborhoods, in our schools, and on our sidewalks and streets. As a movement, we can and must do more to dismantle the conditions that allow these tragedies and miscarriages of justice to continue.


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SEIU Local 221 to MAAC: Stop Feeding Our Children Junk!


SEIU Local 221 MAAC Chapter President Adela Martinez (Left) stands with Worksite Organizer Karen Paredes-Tupper (Right) and other SEIU Local 221 members (center)

On November 18th, 2014, 25 SEIU Local 221 members picketed the MAAC Child Development Program Policy Council and Board of Directors meeting. The action was in response to the programs new food contractor not meeting the standards of a high-quality program.

Instead of fresh food delivered daily by an in-house kitchen, children are often eating frozen food and staff is left to deal with an overwhelming amount of waste. SEIU Local 221 members want MAAC management to live up to their mission statement and provide children healthy meals.

For more information, please contact Worksite Organizer, Karen Paredes-Tupper at or (858) 560-0151 ext. 251

To download this flyer in English, click here. To download the flyer in Spanish, click here. To view more photos from the action, please visit out Facebook here.

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SEIU Local 221 Victorious at Red Cross San Diego


Welcome to the union, Red Cross Blood Collection Tecnicians! Back Row (Left to Right): SEIU Local 221 Executive Board Secretary Nico Portillo, Ronnie Saldivar; Erika Galvez; Martha Leyva; Patricia Franklin; Monica Patron; Cynthia Hamer Front Row (Left to Right): Doreen McKinley; Martha Rodriguez; SEIU Local 221 Staff Director Micki Millican and SEIU Local 221 President, David Garcias

A majority of Red Cross blood collection technicians have voted overwhelmingly to join SEIU Local 221. This will be the first time a union will represent the 27 workers employed at the Red Cross site in San Diego.

“We believe that we need to be part of SEIU Local 221 to help achieve our goals. We are excited to now sit down with management in good faith to negotiate a contract that is fair to all employees” said Ronnie Saldivar, a blood collection technician for Red Cross.

The San Diego Red Cross has historically been the only center in California to not have union representation. “This victory is a long time coming. There have been numerous stalls and delays throughout this process” said SEIU Local 221 Staff Director, Micki Millican. Three years ago, blood collection technicians campaigned and organized to start a union. “We signed cards, filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and managements reaction was to promise better benefits if we rescinded” said Saldivar, “and surprise, they did not follow through with their promise.”

SEIU Local 221 and the San Diego Red Cross blood technicians are looking forward to beginning negotiations for a strong contract.

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President’s Administrative Action is Important Step Forward for Immigrant Families, American Economy

Millions of Aspiring Americans to Benefit; Republicans Should Stop Playing Politics With People’s Lives

President Obama’s administrative action on immigration today is an important step in the right direction for immigrant families and American communities. His action provides millions of families with an historic opportunity to come out of the shadows and into the light of our economy and society without fear.

The President has fulfilled his promise to do everything in his power to help immigrant families who are suffering in the shadows of a broken system. This promise will bring hope to millions and will have a profoundly positive impact on our entire society, because millions of our neighbors, family members, co-workers, and faith community members will finally experience freedom from the almost unimaginable fear of deportation and separation from their families and homes.

“We commend the President for taking bold action after Congress refused to act,” said SEIU Local 221 President, David Garcias. “It’s truly a victory for all Americans because we understand how crucial the immigrant contribution is to our economy, schools, neighborhoods, small businesses and our everyday lives.”

The President’s action will allow millions of families to live without fear of deportation and to come out of the underground economy and raise their voices without fear of retribution.

This is a significant step forward, and SEIU members and our communities are grateful; yet, there is much more to do. Congress must pass comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship; if it does not, our communities will remember in 2016.

Unfortunately, conservative Republicans in Congress have threatened to shut down the federal government, sue the President, or block funding to stop administrative action from happening.

“Republican leaders in Congress need to stop playing politics with people’s lives, they failed the American people by refusing to vote on meaningful immigration reform. If Republican leaders choose to continue to be the party of inaction and interference, they will be held accountable by voters in 2016.”

Finally, we must protect those who seek to change their status from fraud and abuse. That’s why our community is coming together  to provide information and assistance through iAmerica, an online resource that will provide accurate information on what today’s order means, the process to apply for relief, and referrals to trusted legal sources.


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SEIU Local 221 Members are Fighting for Retirement Security


Samantha Begovich, SDCERA board member, spoke with members about the recent controversy surrounding SDCERA as well as answered questions and encouraged members to continue the fight, “what SEIU Local 221 members have put a microscope on what has been happening at SDCERA. You cannot underestimate what members have done.”

SEIU Local 221 County members have been very concerned about the questionable direction of the SDCERA retirement fund under the leadership of Salient Partners.

SEIU Local 221 members are calling on the SDCERA board to: 

  • Eliminate high-leverage investment strategies from its portfolio: Salient Partner’s decision to invest in high-risk, high-cost leveraged strategies has been questioned by numerous outside financial experts, most notably the Wall Street Journal
  • Stop paying exorbitant fees to Salient Partners: Salient Partners and their CIO Lee Partridge were hired to replace an in-house chief investment officer who was paid $209,000 a year. Salient Partners pay has now increased to over $10 million a year.
  • “In-source” the investment management with a Chief Investment Officer employed by the County: San Diego County is the ONLY county in California without an in house CIO.

In 2009, Salient Partners was first hired as a paid consultant by SDCERA to manage the pension fund. After pressure from SEIU Local 221 members and skeptical outside financial experts like the Wall Street Journal, some members of the SDCERA board became uncomfortable with the leverage Salient was using.

High risk investments have hurt us before. In 2006, the fund lost $90 million in an investment with a hedge fund, Amaranth Advisors. In 2009, the fund lost $78 million in a fraud scandal involving another hedge fund, WG Trading Investors. Pension funds are long-term investors who should be paying attention to the 30 year horizon instead of taking risky bets for short term gains. The same Wall Street “experts” the SDCERA board has put in charge of the retirement security of tens of thousands of County employees are the same “experts” whose strategies lead to the collapse of the global market 6 years ago.

SEIU Local 221 members have collectd hundreds of petitions and have testified twice before the board, asking them to immediately terminate their contract with Salient Partners and create a management model made of public employees committed to the preservation of secure retirement, fiscal responsibility and corporate accountability. On Wednesday, November 12th, Samantha Begovich, SDCERA board member, spoke with members about the recent controversy surrounding SDCERA as well as answered questions and encouraged members to continue the fight, “what SEIU Local 221 members have put a microscope on what has been happening at SDCERA. You cannot underestimate what members have done.”

Even though the SDCERA board initially voted 5-4 to retain Salient Partners and their controversial CIO, the board is responding to our members’ pressure and has since signaled its willingness to terminate the contract and “in-source” the management of the retirement fund. Last Thursday, the SDCERA board held a straw poll on the issue, and the firing was “approved” 7-0. While this is not an official vote, it does signal that the SDCERA board is on the verge of firing Salient Partners and their controversial CIO, Lee Partridge. If Salient is fired, SDCERA will begin to move its investment management in-house.

For more information on future meetings, actions and details on how you can get involved, please contact Worksite Organizer, Liz DeRoulet, at or call at (858) 560-0151 ext. 259

To sign the petition online, please click here. To download the petition and collect signatures at your work site, click here. To download the flyer, click here.

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Election Day Report: Mixed results


Once the polls closed last night, SEIU Local 221 members and staff, community partners, and candidates gathered to hear speeches and watch the election results.

Yesterday we took some defeats at the ballot box, but also celebrated some victories as well.  Over the last several weeks, Local 221 members knocked on doors, made phone calls and rallied behind candidates that will stand up for us.  We weren’t able to get everyone across the finish line, but we are proud of the hard work of everyone that worked on the election.

Here are the highlights, which won’t be final until provisional and absentee ballots are counted:

  • In Chula Vista, Mary Salas became the first Latina mayor in San Diego County and Pat Aguilar won re-election. Our third endorsed candidate Steve Padilla seems unlikely to overcome an election night deficit.
  • In Poway, Michelle O’Connor-Ratcliff and Charles Sellers knocked off two incumbents (!!) and now represent two of the three pro-labor board members on the Poway Unified School Board.
  • In National City, SEIU Local 221 Member Mona Rios won reelection for city council but Ken Seaton-Msemaji seems to have fallen short.  However, Prop D (1% sales tax), which will stabilize the city budget, passed with the overwhelming support of National City voters.
  • In Imperial Beach,  Council Members Ed Spriggs and Lorie Bragg look to have won reelection.
  • Congressman Scott Peters was down on Election Night, but we believe he has a good chance to prevail once the final votes are counted.
  • Our endorsed candidates swept the state races, including State Superintendent Tom Torlakson, Alex Padilla for Secretary of State and Betty Yee for Controller.

The most encouraging result on election day was that voters throughout the country showed they want an economy that works for all of us.  We celebrated Minimum Wage and/or Earned Sick Days victories in San Francisco, Oakland, Massachusetts and even Nebraska and South Dakota.

Congratulations to all of the members that gave time to support our endorsed candidates. Remember, our political power comes from the strength of member participation, so get involved!

If you are interested in donating to COPE (Committee on Political Education) and would like to get involved in the Member Political Organizer Committee, please contact Political Director, Dave Lagstein at

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Make Politics Work for Us: VOTE TODAY! Tuesday Nov. 4

November 4th…It’s here! Have you voted yet?

Together we can stop dangerous politicans who cut important public programs to the bone and then balance the budget on the backs of working people. But we can’t do that unless you VOTE today.

Fight back by going to the polls and voting.

Everyone who works hard for a living should be able to support their families without having to live on the brink, regardless of where you were born or what zip code you live in.

Below you’ll find the resources so you can answer the following questions before casting your vote, to ensure you don’t run into any problems:

  1. Are you registered to vote and have you updated your address?
  2. Where is your polling place?
  3. When is your polling place open?
  4. Have you reminded your family, friends and coworkers to vote?

For all the information you need tomorrow to vote, please visit here.

Please click here and here for all the information you need on voting in the state of California.

Click here for our SEIU Local 221 list of endorsed candidates and visit our Facebook page to see how your fellow members have been getting out the vote for the November 4th General Election.

Once you’ve voted, let your friends and family know by sharing this graphic on your Facebook page.

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