LOCAL 1000 Takes Our Contract to the Capitol

Article Published on May 12, 2023

This week, we brought members to a legislative informational hearing with the Assembly Public Employment and Retirement Committee. The hearing, titled Strengthening California through the Public Sector and its Workforce, continued to educate the legislature on the challenges faced by public sector workers.

“There were multiple unions and voices sharing our issues, in addition to one hearing specifically on state service,” said SEIU Local 1000 Political Director Omega Brewer-Gonzalez. “We discussed vacancy rates, turnover, contracting out, and how all these practices relate to the low wages state workers are offered by the state.”

No matter what part of the public sector, workers are all facing these issues. SEIU Local 1000 Vice President for Bargaining Irene Green spoke alongside representatives of other public sector unions, as well as researchers from the UC Berkeley Labor Center.

The legislature has the power of the purse. They approve the budget, and in that budget is included funding for state workers and their salaries, as well as funding for departments overall. This is a critical stage for negotiations with the state, and it’s crucial that Local 1000 member voices were heard by legislators. “Our members make California run,” said Brewer-Gonzalez. “No one would know that better than the chair of the committee, who is a former SEIU member herself.”

Having conversations with the legislature keeps our members’ stories at the center of negotiations and in the forefront of their minds as they make decisions on bills, the budget, and our contract. Our members who spoke talked about workplace conditions and the impacts of low wages and rising workloads. Whenever the legislature makes a decision, a state worker somewhere is involved in the execution and ongoing implementation of those plans.

“Our jobs exist because of the legislature,” said Brewer-Gonzalez. “So, it’s important that these conversations come up in the legislature because state workers are an integral part of making the state run. Our members are an advocate for each other in the political arena