From the Desk of Board Chair Bill Hall
We often talk as a union about “the fight.” The battle for better wages, benefits, and working conditions is just the beginning. The need for a strong union goes well beyond winning and enforcing a new contract.
I believe there is a storm coming our way, and if we do not prepare well, we will get battered.
Every day, issues cross my desk that affect our daily lives and the work we do as Local 1000. California’s budget deficit, tax policies, politics, elections, health care, and inflation are just a few of the things I’m thinking about as I work steadfastly to build a more aggressive, more powerful union that’s up to the challenges we face.
Every issue I’ve listed below impacts our members, our represented state workers and their families. It’s the holiday season, and I don’t want to be the Grinch, but it’s important that we’re aware of what’s ahead because each issue has an immense impact on our lives.
A dangerous and deceptive ballot initiative promises tax reform but will adversely affect all of us – including making our contract subject to an approving vote from the general public. The Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act (TPA) is a proposed constitutional amendment which has already qualified for the November 2024 ballot. It is sponsored by taxpayer and business organizations to restore key provisions of Proposition 13 and other pro-taxpayer laws that give voters more control over when and how new tax revenue is raised. You can read about it this article from the Orange Coast Register. The fight against the TPA is already underway, including the Governor’s challenge to the constitutionality of the initiative.Here’s a look at the details of this legal battle on Fox40 TV.
California faces a huge deficit next year. After a $100 billion budget surplus two years ago, the Golden State is now staring at a $68 billion shortfall because the gusher of tax revenue from soaking the rich has dried up. CalMatters reports that California politicians have steadfastly refused to deal with the volatile revenues that plague the state budget.
Health care costs show the greatest increase in a decade. The Kaiser Family Foundation recently reported that the annual cost of family health insurance jumped to nearly $24,000 this year. While insurance executives and employers may cite a plethora of reasons, The Los Angeles Times reports that one of the chief culprits is lack of oversight over the Wild West of healthcare prices
Is inflation up in California? Is inflation putting a damper on your holiday spirit? It might not be all bad news. Inflation is down nationwide considerably from a high of 9.1% in summer 2022. In some parts of California, inflation is lower than the national average. The Sacramento Bee reports that the Consumer Price Index, a common measure of inflation, increased 3.2% from October 2022 to October 2023.
My hope is that information and education stir you into action. Together, we can make an impact on these issues. Our strength comes from growing our membership, and building coalitions with other labor organizations and community groups. Strength also comes from political engagement—voting for candidates that share our value, and against propositions that harm us.
The choices we make have an impact. The world offers no free rides, and the cost of strength is union does, and a donation to COPE, our political committee. Join us, and let’s win together.
William (Bill) Hall
Board Chair, SEIU Local 1000