Silent Protest March at Capitol Draws Hundreds

Article published on June 30, 2023

The State has made it clear: they do not care about the needs of workers. Their 6% raise counterproposal is an insult to every state worker across California who kept this state growing for the last three years. The State’s refusal to address the economic concerns of one of the country’s largest public workforces will have devastating impacts on the services Californians depend on, the workers who provide those services, and the communities they live in.

SEIU Local 1000 members and supporters gathered at the Capitol in Sacramento on Thursday to stage a silent protest against the counteroffer. Our demands are the same: we need a contract that defends our rights and our futures in California.

Our Union will not back down, and members are fighting back. Bargaining is continuing daily and will continue until our members have a contract they can approve that addresses their actual needs. The State needs to understand that our demands are not gestures but are the reality of what their employees live with every day, often paid wages far below private sector jobs while experienced workers move on to new jobs in droves.

In addition to rejecting our proposed pay raises and health care stipend, the State rejected making Juneteenth, already a state and federal holiday, into a paid holiday for state workers. This double standard captures the State’s ongoing attitude towards its workforce: empty promises and symbolic gestures with no meaningful impact on the lives of the people who serve the public.

California’s future is often touted in the media. Our growing economy is larger than most countries, and as state workers, we are proud of that. Our work is the backbone of that growth. For every major public project in the state, every development program, and every new and existing regulation, our work shapes the future of California and ensures that it benefits the public and follows the law.

What does failing to invest in California’s future look like? Former Governor Jerry Brown explained in his farewell address: “California was built on dreams and perseverance and the bolder path is still our way forward.” Our members work in understaffed workplaces, underpaid and disrespected, and every day still take the bold path of public service to California. We expect the same boldness from the State’s leaders.

We are leading escalating actions across the state, with solidarity from our sister locals and pressure on the State from our allies in the legislature. State workers will not accept and inequitable contract. Our members and supporters will stand together, and show the State that together, we can win.