4.21.23 Bargaining Wrap up: SEIU Local 1000 Proposes 30% General Salary Increase to State
Our bargaining team proposed a 30% general salary increase (GSI) and 100% paid health care coverage to the State for all our represented employees. This demand is not one to be taken lightly. In order to win this desperately needed raise, we are all committing to a fight that will define our future. This is only the beginning of our campaign, but with our team already at the table, we are able to prepare for the fight ahead.
The central issue for state workers is that our three demands have not been met over the last several years. We are not respected in our workplaces, we are not protected by our employers when they have a responsibility to do so, and we are paid far, far less than our work is worth to the state.
“We want to make this the strongest bargaining season that we have ever had,” said SEIU Local 1000 Vice President for Bargaining Irene Green. “Our roadmap to victory starts now. The more we do, the better our chances are to win big.”
Our wages and salaries have not kept up with inflation, despite high vacancy rates. As we argued to the State during bargaining, according to capitalist economic theory, when you have a labor shortage in high-demand occupations, the price of the labor is supposed to increase. We are not responsible for the changing conditions the State faces. In fact, state workers did everything they could to keep this state afloat over the last several years.
The disconnect between wages and labor shortages in occupations doing essential work in California’s civil service is more than an economic question. “Because our salary, wages, and benefits are voted on by the legislature, this gap between the value of our labor and our actual compensation is not just some random economic observation. It’s a political one too,” Green said. “Some refer to this gap as the measure of exploitation. Local 1000 refers to it as the measure of disrespect.”
The uncertainty that we face in the future of our economy, rising inflation, and unemployment are issues we, the people who carry out the economic, political, and social policies of our government, can and will solve. But we cannot do it empty handed. When the legislature passes a bill to combat homelessness, it’s not legislators who carry that into action. When legislators pass laws to strengthen our economy, they are not the ones in our departments enforcing those laws. When we are faced with uncertainty, everyone in the state of California needs state workers to help solve it. It is outrageous and short-sighted to ignore us. With the support of every one of our members, they will not be able to ignore us. They will hear about it every day from SEIU Local 1000 members prepared to win a contract that makes respect, our safety, and our wages a priority.