State Workers Show their Strength at CalHR Protest

Article Published on June 30, 2023

State workers held a protest outside the CalHR building in Sacramento to demand a fair contract with a living wage that will respect, protect, and pay us. With some members driving for over an hour to attend, workers from across California are joining together to demand more from the State’s negotiators.

After months of negotiation, we have received little from the State that reflects the urgent needs of our members. Our members have waited too long for their issues to be understood and responded to. Instead, we have seen an ignorance of the conditions in workplaces across California, a refusal to seriously consider our proposals and a counterproposal of just 6% in pay raises over three years.

Our members are fed up with these games and are showing up to support each other and SEIU Local 1000’s bargaining team as they meet with the State.

“I want to let everyone know that we need more people out here. We need to advocate for ourselves,” said Damon DeLeon, a worker at the California Workforce Development Board. “I love working for CWDB, and they need to let me work for them. They need to enable me to have the money I need for gas, to rent my apartment, so I don’t need to drive over an hour to get to work. I love what I do, but we need to get what we deserve.”

The urgency of the demand could not have come at a more critical time. Our growing economy needs to continue to be healthy and support tens of millions of Californians. The need for public servants continues to grow, while we enforce regulations and provide services to the communities across the state who rely on us.

As state workers, we have always been essential to the State. When the State needed their employees to do the dangerous and exhausting work of providing public health services during the pandemic, we stepped up. When the State needed to weather financial crises, we stepped up. But we are not only essential during a crisis. Every day, we stand up for California’s future by building it in our communities, and by providing the services that shape everyday life for the public.

CalHR needs to respect the work and dignity of those who have dedicated their careers to bettering the lives of people in California. They need to hear our members’ voices, not just at the negotiating table, but in their offices and their inboxes. We are essential, and we aren’t going anywhere.