Members step up to assist fire-ravaged communities


California’s worst-ever wildfire season has already blackened nearly a million acres and destroyed thousands of homes and businesses. Northern California has been declared a federal disaster area, and the fires have temporarily or permanently displaced thousands of families, including our union sisters and brothers. 

Our members across the state have stepped up in many ways to help support the families and communities most affected, providing food, clothing and household items and volunteering their time in evacuation and relief efforts. 

Maria Patterson, the chair of Bargaining Unit 15, is just one example of how members are fulfilling the Local 1000 Purpose Statement. Working with Stockton-area merchants, she collected several truckloads of much-needed food and water and delivered them to one of the Red Cross centers in the north state. 

“Helping Californians to have a good life includes lending a helping hand when it’s needed most,” said Patterson. “Seeing the devastation first-hand underscores for me that we’re all in this together, and we must band together and use our power in numbers to provide support and relief to our sisters and brothers in a time of crisis.” 

Others are making donations to SEIU California’s Disaster Relief Fund, which helps SEIU members suffering financial hardships by providing a supplemental reimbursement for unusual costs that stretch budgets during a natural disaster. 

The Fund provides eligible members and their families assistance in two ways: costs for temporary housing or repair to existing housing; and reimbursement for disaster-related needs including cleanup, medical expenses, and replacement of household items. To make a contribution, or to apply for help, visit