State Employees Call for California Legislators to “Respect Us, Protect Us, and Pay Us” as Contract Bargaining Talks Begin

Press release

Brian Nash,, 916-554-1238

SACRAMENTO, CA (April 20, 2023) – Members of SEIU Local 1000, the state’s largest public employee union representing more than 96,000 state workers, kicked off contract bargaining by calling for a 30% wage increase over three years (12% on 7/1/2023; 9% on 7/1/2024; and 9% on 7/1/2025) along with workplace and benefit protections.

The demand is buoyed by detailed research from an independent study recently conducted by the University of California Berkeley Labor Center, which shows that more than two-thirds of SEIU Local 1000 state workers do not earn enough to support themselves and a child on their own.

“The work that SEIU Local 1000 members do on a daily basis is essential to the well-being of every Californian. That work has value,” said SEIU 1000 Board Chair Bill Hall. “When state workers are dramatically underpaid, we cannot adequately fill these positions. This understaffing prevents us from delivering the services that our fellow Californians deserve.”

“We appreciate that the California State Senate legislative workers have been granted an across-the-board 7.5% cost-of-living adjustment,” said Irene Green, Local 1000 Vice President for Bargaining. “The Legislature clearly realizes recruitment and retention challenges, increased cost of living, and tight job markets—leading to turnover and unsustainable workloads—are directly tied to employees’ salaries. And just as they have the power to control their legislative staff pay, they have the same obligation to stand up for state workers. Anything less is not okay.” 

“It’s so embarrassing to put myself in the Salvation Army line to get a box of food,” said Norma Murillo, a Staff Services Analyst for the Department of Justice and Local 1000 represented worker. “I work for the State. I’m seeing people that are in situations where they don’t have a job or they’re on Social Security or disability. I’m not supposed to be taking their food.”

“The governor has made ending extreme poverty a focus of his administration,” continued Local 1000 VP Green. “We applaud and support that. Now he needs to make sure that our state employees aren’t impoverished.”

About SEIU Local 1000
SEIU Local 1000 represents more than 96,000 workers at over 2,000 worksites across the state. We strive to give all of our workers—and all Californians—the opportunity to have a good life, live in sustainable communities, and enjoy the fruits of social, economic, and environmental justice.

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