Members from across Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties gathered at Padre Serra Parish in Camarillo for the Ventura Rising Together Summit, marshaling our Tri-Counties forces to protect good union jobs across the Tri-Counties region against privatization – and to kick-start a strong contract bargaining fight for workers in the County of Ventura.
Attendees heard directly from each other as well as from local and regional union leaders, including SEIU 721 Chief of Staff Gilda Valdez. She underscored the connection between the strength of future contract victories for Tri-Counties members and the strength of the broader unionization movement nationwide, such as the fight by Uber and Lyft drivers for proper employee job classification and union rights.
“Union membership numbers are at just ten percent nationwide, when they used to be thirty percent,” Valdez explained. “We’ve got to get them back up again everywhere to give us the power we need here to protect our jobs and protect our contracts.”
Tri-Counties leaders Sarah Clancy and Brandon Miller provided participants with a summary of recent victories and anticipated struggles – from contract bargaining to holding the line against lay-offs and privatization.
Their fellow members echoed their sentiments.
“We need to think about our jobs being union strong and they stay that way because we stick together,” said Jesse Gomez of the Pleasant Valley Recreation and Park District.
Jeremy Adams of Gold Coast Transit emphasized the need for Tri-Counties leaders to motivate each other and to activate fellow members for real results.
“The members need to show up,” Adams said. “That’s how we win.”
Attendees were updated on the latest attempts by the anti-worker, so-called “Right-to-Work” attack to take away our pay, our healthcare, our retirement security and our workplace protections by bankrolling anti-union lawsuits – and anti-union political candidates.
All left with the tools needed to reenergize their worksites by reactivating members, including canvas bags, COPE cards and “Union Board in a Box” packets featuring the latest materials for the bulletin boards at our respective worksites that our union fought so hard for.
Contract bargaining for our members in the County of Ventura starts on Monday and they left today’s summit with the tools we need to reenergize our members so we can deliver a strong contract. That spirit must reverberate throughout the Tri-Counties region so that all of our SEIU 721 Brothers and Sisters can provide for themselves and their families – and have a fair shot at the American Dream.
Many thanks to the following 721 staff, leaders and members for also speaking at today’s Ventura Rising Together Summit: Jordan Roberts, Jeremy Adams, Geraldine Navarette, Wilson Munoz, Brian Luskin, Maureen Stutt, David Vahidi, Tom Adelman, Rebecca Albarran, Danny Carrillo, Raymond Meza and Pamm Fair.
Together, we win!