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Victory: Union makes Sheriff end English-only policy

October 29, 2021

Can you get disciplined for speaking Spanish in the workplace in 2021? Sadly, the answer to that question was 'yes' until SEIU members got involved.

In March, three SEIU employees were cited for violating the Sheriff’s policy on the Use of English in the Workplace for speaking in Spanish at their workstations.
SEIU immediately organizing a campaign and petition to clear the workers' records and change the English-only policy. SEIU demanded Sheriff senior managers remove the "contact log entries" immediately, citing discrimination against bilingual employees.
The department removed the entries but then created a new policy was even more restrictive and harmful to bilingual employees.
President Crystal Irving sent a cease-and-desist letter and demanded to meet and confer about this policy. We also spoke with Board of Supervisors Vice Chair Nora Vargas, who supported our fight to end this policy without hesitation. Finally, after months of organizing, our actions as a union made the Sheriff’s Department remove the policy entirely.
This type of action to defend our rights is only possible when we all stand together as one union and make executive managers do what is right. Sign up a new member today by following this link.