SEIU 721 members from LA County showed up in big numbers at today’s Board of Supervisors meeting to send a clear message: Don’t shortchange working families! It was a strong opening salvo in LA County’s fight for a strong contract that champions the key public services our communities rely on, with hundreds of members from various worksites across LA County taking the time to be present at Tuesday’s morning meeting to make their voices heard.
“When you shortchange us, you impact the level of services we can provide,” said Sharonda Wade, Children’s Social Worker at the LA County Department of Children and Family Services. “The end result is you end up shortchanging the community. We work with the community. We live there, too. We know the need is real. So we are here today to stand up for working families and for our communities.”
The Los Angeles County budget for Fiscal Year 2018-2019, as currently written, offers SEIU Local 721 members a weak compensation increase of just five percent over the next three years. That is far below what members need to counter the dearth of affordable housing across Southern California as well as the skyrocketing cost of living in the greater Los Angeles region.
Over the next three years, housing costs alone are projected to rise by almost 18 percent. During this same time period, if current trends continue, consumer prices in the Los Angeles area are expected to rise more than ten percent.
“It is not too much to ask that the men and women who comprise Los Angeles County’s workforce can afford to live here,” said Bob Schoonover, President of SEIU Local 721. “We take care of LA County but the proposed budget shortchanges us and the communities we serve. We intend to fight hard for a better deal.”
SEIU Local 721 represents more than 30,000 Los Angeles County employees, with members employed in myriad fields – including health care mental health, public health, public works, street maintenance, wastewater treatment, sanitation, parks and recreation, social work, social services, child support collection, animal control and more.
“It doesn’t matter who you are or what your background is, the Los Angeles County workforce impacts your life,” said Melisa Hernandez, Recreation Services Manager at the LA County Department of Parks and Recreation. “We are the workforce. We are here today to send a message: Don’t shortchange working families and don’t shortchange our communities. We are the backbone of LA County and we are union strong!”