February 2021

SEIU campaign leads to more County worker vaccinations

Through our organizing and advocacy work with decision makers at the countywide and statewide level, SEIU has helped to make vaccinations available to more essential workers starting on Saturday, Feb. 27, including:

  • All employees in the DA and Public Defender offices
  • CWS – PSW, PSW Senior and PSS employees
  • 70 HSS employees that are on-site at FRCs

If you fall into one of these groups, the County has said that it is sending emails on Feb. 26 inviting us to sign up voluntarily.

We are continuing to fight for other workers to move to higher tiers and get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Our advocacy also forced the Cal/OSHA Standards Board in November  to strengthen protections for all California workers from COVID-19 in the workplace. This gives us specific, mandatory requirements for employers to follow to reduce transmission of the virus at work.

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Hazard Pay negotiations begin – sign the petition

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Lisa Rhone wins SDCERA trustee seat!

We did it! The ballots are counted and SEIU Local 221 Member Lisa Rhone won her race to represent us on the San Diego County Employees Retirement Association board. Our hard work got her across the finish line.

We called, emailed, sent text messages and had conversations with co-workers to make sure that Lisa will represent us to speak out against benefit cuts and risky investments.

Our victory shows that when we work together, we win. Find out how to get more involved by joining the Member Political Organizer Committee.

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Important leadership announcement from President David Garcias

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Tuesday was a historic day in San Diego County. We saw the culmination of 10 months of work when the new Board of Supervisors voted to approve COVID-19 Paid Leave and to re-start bargaining about Hazard Pay. As your SEIU Local 221 President, I could not be more proud of the long line of union members who turned out to speak. All of our organizing paid off as the County took its first big steps toward compensating workers for the risks they take in the course of serving the public.

Tuesday was notable for another reason: I announced to our SEIU Local 221 Executive Board that I am planning to retire at the end of my Presidential term in August. It’s been an incredible journey. After serving four years in the Army, I started my first Union Job as a Code Enforcement officer at UCSD in 1987, which kicked off 34 years of service as a union member where I have served in multiple capacities, all of them with a goal of fighting for my members’ and strengthening the Labor Movement.

I am so proud of the accomplishments we’ve achieved during my nine years as President. We fought through two difficult contract fights, where we squeezed important advances for our members from a hostile board.  We were a local leader in the Fight for 15 campaign and stood with Governor Brown when the $15 an hour bill was signed.  We started the Invest in San Diego Families coalition, where our union united with community partners to shine a light on the failures of the County.  Finally, in November a decade of preparation and hard work came to fruition when we won a majority at the Board of Supervisors.

The Board of Supervisors actions on Tuesday marked a new high point in our ongoing struggle for social and economic justice. In spite of the incredible challenge of confronting the COVID-19 pandemic for all of us, we have moved the ball forward on Hazard Pay and won a comprehensive compensation study, which will be conducted this year. We have also racked up impressive wins this past year alone for our members at other employers, including cities, schools and Head Start programs. These include across the board raises, equity adjustments, health and safety standards, COVID-19 leave, hazard pay and much more.

Now, as we embark on the journey of 2021, we are preparing to continue our push for better wages, hours and working conditions. And of course, at the center of all of this is the County of San Diego, one of the largest employers in the county and historically one of the biggest barriers to change. With a new worker-friendly Board of Supervisors seated and the wind of organizing at our backs, I’m confident that we will win strong contracts at our bargaining tables in 2021 and beyond.

With many accomplishments behind us and important work ahead, I concluded that this is the moment for me to pass the torch to the next generation.  I have tremendous confidence in our union leadership that is poised to build on the foundation we have laid and deliver more wins to our membership and working families. For me, it’s time to slow my pace a little bit and spend more time with my family.

Many of my friends and allies have asked me what my parting message will be as I get ready to retire. I’ve thought a lot about this, and my answer is “don’t stop organizing, not even for a second.” Everything we have been able to win has been through the organized power of union members like you and me. The future will be bright if we build the future we want using our collective power.

In Solidarity,

David Garcias
SEIU Local 221 President

P.S. – Sign up a nonunion member, to grow our power and show management we are standing strong. You can sign a membership card online by following this link.

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Fight for the hazard pay we deserve

As a Residential Care Worker Supervisor at Polinsky Children’s Center, we are on the frontlines in San Diego County, making sure that children who must be separated from their families are cared for. Because we are exposed to so many vulnerable people, my coworkers and I often get sick and must isolate because of COVID-19 exposure. This puts us and our families at risk.

That is why I am demanding hazard pay from the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, Feb. 9. Join me during the online meeting when Supervisors are expected to vote on Hazard Pay and COVID-leave.

Most of us put ourselves and our families at risk to serve the public during this pandemic. Hazard pay recognizes our hard work and sacrifice, as well as additional costs for working from home and childcare during this unprecedented crisis. Even if you are unable to speak, you can join the online union Zoom call to watch it with your coworkers and fellow union members. Follow this link to sign up now.

Demand hazard pay at the Board of Supervisors

RSVP now by following this link
Starting at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 9

We expect a Hazard Pay board action that could direct County staff to negotiate with our union on the amount of Hazard Pay, including retroactively. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which provides for paid time off for employees that are not able to work because of COVID-19, expired on Dec. 31. The proposed board action would approve and fund Coronavirus Leave in January (retroactively) and February, with an option to extend in March.

It is time to hold the Supervisors accountable to their goals of racial and economic justice, by demanding they take this first step in pay equity for their essential staff that keep our communities safe and healthy.

Join us and make sure that the Board of Supervisors knows it must: Protect us! Respect us! And pay us!

Follow this link to sign up now.

In Solidarity,

2102RachelRachel Randolph
SEIU Local 221 Steward
Residential Care Worker Supervisor
Polinsky Children’s Center

P.S. – Sign up a nonunion member, to grow our power and show management we are standing strong. You can sign a membership card online by following this link.

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Sign for safe and equitable County library services

Are your coworkers forced to report to work when they have been exposed to COVID-19? Is management insisting on providing services in-person that could be remote? It feels like we’re living in an episode of “Black Mirror” or “The Twilight Zone,” but this is the reality in County Libraries where I work.

We need your support. Follow this link to sign the petition for safe and equitable libraries.

As fellow public and nonprofit service professionals, you know as well as I do that the bosses will get away with whatever they can, whenever they can. If they do this to us, they’ll do it to you next (or maybe they already have).

The only way we can make sure our health and safety are protected is by fighting back with the power of our union. Just today, County Executives gave in to our demand for better, more protective respirator masks to be distributed to Library staff. It’s not enough, but it’s a real win for workers.

Now we need to take this fight to the next level. Follow this link to support safe and equitable libraries.

As you’re reading this, you might be thinking, “What about my workplace?” You might say, “We need respirators,” or “We need time off when we’re sick.” I want you to know that County Library staff will stand with you in your fights too.

After you sign the petition, please feel free to respond to this email to let us know how we can support you and your coworkers. We are all stronger together!

In solidarity,

2102LeslieFace

Leslie Masland
Library Steward and Worksite Power Builder
SEIU Local 221

P.S. – Sign up a nonunion member, to grow our power and show management we are standing strong. You can sign a membership card online by following this link.

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