A message from President Yvonne R. Walker
An overwhelming 92% majority of us voted YES to authorize any and all actions, up to and including a strike, in support of a contract we can all be proud of!
From Oct. 31 to Nov. 11 we voted at more than 200 locations across the state on strike authorization. Votes were counted today by our bargaining unit chairs and vice chairs to ensure all policies and procedures were followed correctly.
What does strike authorization mean for us?
It means we will continue to bargain in good faith. But, both sides have to bargain in good faith. When the state’s conduct doesn’t meet this standard, we will take whatever action necessary to hold them accountable, up to and including going on strike.
We return to the table today, Nov. 15 and Thursday, Nov. 17, with some additional dates scheduled later this month.
Our vote means that once again we have spoken up for ourselves, for our co-workers, for our families and our communities. We made our voices heard. Together, we told the state that we will take a stand for what is right.
Since we started this journey, we have kept our eyes on winning a contract we can all be proud of. A contract that respects our work and values the services we provide to all Californians. That hasn’t changed.
However, the state has failed to budge from its opening proposal regarding wages for state workers with no explanation or justification.
The state has also failed to provide any response to the communicated concerns of our union regarding:
- The October 2016 CalHR report on gender pay inequities in state employment
- The state’s unilateral approach to civil service reform
- The state’s unilateral change during active bargaining in the required methodology for calculating health care cost-sharing, which will result in a shift of $20 million in health care costs to state employees
Thousands of you told us—in town halls and in surveys—that the state’s offer of 2.96% per year, with a 3.5% employee contribution to health care, is not enough to provide for our families, to afford our rent, to pay for childcare, or even to buy fresh groceries for our children.
A new CalHR report has highlighted the gender pay gap we face as state workers.
- Our union is predominately women (66%), yet we are paid 19% less than the average for all rank-and-file state employees
- The state has made deals with male-dominated bargaining units that include wages 43% higher than our average pay
- A staggering 39% of us cannot afford a two-bedroom apartment in the county we live in
- In most parts of the state, we cannot afford childcare
This is unacceptable. Now more than ever, California must be a beacon of good faith and equity. We provide valuable services to all Californians each day, and the state’s ‘take it or leave it’ philosophy only serves to widen the gender pay gap for California families.
As we move forward, it’s important that we continue to stand together to make our demand. Continue to take action in your worksite and stay in touch with your worksite action team leader.
Remember, this is our union. This is our contract. This is our future. And together we are Unstoppable.
Yvonne R. Walker
President, SEIU Local 1000