August 2020

Equity study among wins for SEIU members in County budget

SEIU members speaking out at the Aug. 25 San Diego County Budget Hearing continued voicing our demands for equity, an increased investment in public health and proper staffing that ends contracting out and takes layoffs off the table. In the past year, members led multiple online actions, vehicle caravans, spoke out to the media and at board meetings. On Aug. 24, it all culminated with a vigil to honor fallen front-line workers during the COVID19 pandemic, including San Diego County Social Worker Ronda Felder, and demand that the County protect all workers.

These actions, along with emails and testimony led to important victories in the budget, including:

  • Funding for an equity study, which is the first step to finally raise compensation to be competitive with other counties and retain experienced workers, which will improve services
  • We demanded and received staffing to address shortages for Pharmacists, Communicable Disease Investigators, Microbiologists and Alcohol and Drug Counselors
  • SEIU and our partners in the Invest in San Diego Families coalition successfully advocated for nearly $40 million in budget changes, including $24 million for rental assistance, $1 million for landlord and tenant counseling, $5.4 million for mental health and substance misuse care coordination services, $2.5 million for translation, $2 million for low-income Internet access and much more.

Despite these wins, ultimately this budget does not do enough to meet this historic moment. The way forward is clear. We must increase pressure to truly invest in the services that the communities we serve deserve, and that means investing in us, the front-line employees who provide critical services. We must keep fighting to win a strong contract in 2021 and ’22.

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Community Vigil to Protect All Workers

Community members are joining SEIU Local 221 for a vigil to honor those who have lost their lives to COVID-19. We demand investment in public health, public services and equity.

Community Vigil to Protect All Workers

6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 24
San Diego County Administration Center

1600 Pacific Highway
San Diego 92101
NOTE: We will be observing all health and safety protocols, including wearing masks  and staying at least six feet apart.
RSVP now by following this link

On the eve of a critical County budget vote, we will wear black to mourn the tragic death of Ronda Felder, a County Social Worker and SEIU member. Ronda, who contracted COVID-19 doing fieldwork, paid for Personal Protective Equipment out of her own pocket when the County failed to provide necessary PPE and hazard pay.

Investing in public health means providing the PPE that Ronda needed and that County workers still need. It means hiring more Clinicians, Nurses and Social Workers, not contracting them out to for-profit companies as the Sheriff plans to do in County Jails. It means investing in equity and hazard pay for front-line workers risking their lives to serve the public.

A County budget that truly reflects our community’s values and commitment to fighting the pandemic would include all of this and more. We will honor the memory of Ronda and all those who have died by demanding a budget that invests in these needs.

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Our voices were loud at the Evening Budget Hearing

SEIU members led the charge for pay equity, public health and secure public services at the virtual County Budget Hearing on Wednesday. In a meeting that ran more three hours, a chorus of many more than a hundred speakers turned out to urge County Supervisors to support an agenda that puts our workforce and our community first.

Our voices were loud and clear, but we still have two critical next steps:

1) Submit an eComment to the County before 5 p.m. Wed. Aug. 19 by following this link. Encourage the Supervisors to support our key budget demands: equity for all workers, investment in public health, and no cuts or contracting out

2) Sign up to testify at the virtual Board of Supervisor Budget Deliberations and Adoption starting at 2 p.m. Aug. 25. This will be our last chance to demands our recommendations are reflected in the final budget. Follow this link to RSVP: https://act.seiu.org/a/equity-budget

Many community supporters from the Invest in San Diego Families Coalition also advocated for good jobs and against cuts and outsourcing.

Our testimony was featured in The San Diego Union-Tribune, which wrote, “several members of the Service Employees International Union [demanded] a comprehensive study of wages and an increase in hazard pay.”
It is critical we continue to tell the Supervisors we will not allow them to contract out the jobs of front-line healthcare employees, our jobs or risk the health and safety of the communities we serve.

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Register now: COVID-19 tele townhall with Dr. Salinda

As essential workers on the front lines, many of us have questions about how to best protect ourselves and our loved ones during this crisis.

Join us for a teleconference call with Dr. Stanley Andrew Salinda to learn how we, as front-line workers, can protect ourselves.

Teleconference Call with Kaiser Permanente’s Dr. Stanley Andrew Salinda

5:30 p.m. Aug. 19
Participation is limited. RSVP by following this link: act.seiu.org/a/covid19 to receive the call-in number.

Learn the answer to questions like these:

  • What can we do if someone at our work has tested positive for COVID-19?
  • What steps can we take to protect our families?
  • Can we get tested for coronavirus?
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