Local 1000 lets CalHR feel our pain

Article Published on July 28, 2023

After months of negotiations, which saw a disinterested State bargaining team fail to address the issues state workers face in their workplaces, we have had enough. Our pickets, a part of our escalating campaign to drive more state workers to events, informational sessions, and strike schools, have brought hundreds of state workers to CalHR’s door to demand a real response to problems they know exist.

State workers have picketed CalHR in Sacramento throughout the last several weeks, expressing our outrage at their failure to respect and pay the workers who keep California running.

“I’ve been with Franchise Tax Board for 18 years. I started when I was 18, and I’m 36 now. I’m a third-generation FTB employee,” said SEIU Local 1000 member Beau Manley. “I’m trying to help our union members get a living wage right now. This 2% over three years is not cutting it. I have a daughter on the way, and we can’t live off this.”

For SEIU Local 1000 members, CalHR’s failure to lead is more than a disrespectful gesture. We are all facing the real problems of California’s rising cost of living, even as we are asked to work to solve those problems.

“I’ve been working for the State for two years, and I currently make $650 less than what I was hired at based on inflation. That’s just unsustainable,” said SEIU Local 1000 member Emily Baker, a worker at the Department of Community Services and Development. “I work in administrating low-income housing programs, and it’s hard to be working in the exact same programs for people who need what I need – a raise.”

This disrespect is reflected in the paltry 7% offer the Local 1000 bargaining team received at the table last week. This nominal increase from the previous 6% offer is an insult to the work we have done and the sacrifices we have made on behalf of the State for years.

“With inflation, we can barely afford rent and groceries. It’s ridiculous,” said Brady Yates, who works at the State Water Board. “2% isn’t enough; it’s terrible. I don’t feel appreciated at all”

Members drove from as far away as Fresno and Susanville to make their voices heard at CalHR’s door. Every state worker who comes to a rally, a picket, or an action in their workplace is making a statement that is heard by the State: We need a contract that respects the needs of state workers, and we are ready to fight for it.

“I am here to support our Union, to support everyone who is a state worker. What they’re giving us is not enough to sustain our families. 2% is nothing. It’s a slap in the face,” said SEIU Local 1000 member Elvia Becerra, a worker at the Department of General Services. “We were considered essential workers during COVID, and all of a sudden, we’re not. We are important. We should get paid for what we do.”

Members across the state are organizing informational picket lines. More and more members are stepping up and organizing in their workplaces, talking to coworkers, and setting up tables and banners outside their worksites to make sure the State knows we will not give up.

Building off the successes of our CalHR rallies, our goal is to organize 1,000 pickets across the state between now and August 14. To help set up these rallies in your workplace, there are four easy steps to take:

Step 1. Fill out the Online Form HERE. All details must be included.

The more information we have on where events and pickets will be held, the easier it is for us to amplify your event and boost participation.

Step 2. Promote your picket. Share on social media, email/text coworkers. 

A flier template is coming soon, but you can make your own and SEIU Local 1000 will promote your picket on social media, email, and text.

Step 3. Prepare your signs. Sign-making parties are highly encouraged.

Talking with your coworkers in your workplace about attending events like sign-making parties is a good way to encourage more participation in the fight for your contract.

Step 4. Follow the Best Practices for SEIU Local 1000 Union Actions.

When we make sure that we put our best foot forward, we keep things focused on the issues that matter to state workers: our contract and our rights in the workplace.