On Tuesday, almost one hundred SEIU 721 represented LAHSA workers simultaneously took action on management virtually through Zoom, and in-person at LAHSA headquarters (HQ) in Downtown Los Angeles.
The SEIU 721 members on Zoom “purpled out” the meeting with their zoom backgrounds explicitly telling management to respect their work. Meanwhile, the SEIU 721 members gathered at LAHSA HQ rallied outside before marching into the building to demand for management to deliver on a fair and just contract.
To the sound of boisterous “union power” and “we know our worth, LAHSA value our work” chants, the in-person action at LAHSA HQ sent shockwaves through the building. The surprise march caught building security off guard and left them scrambling to figure out how to contain the largely peaceful demonstration. They refused to let the delegation go up the elevator to see management, forcing the workers to march for a bit, causing even more panic for the head of security.
Breaking! SEIU 721 represented members at @LAHomeless are marching to speak to LAHSA management to demand a fair contract. They know their worth, LAHSA value their work! pic.twitter.com/quWK1ahuD1
— SEIU 721 (@SEIU721) December 21, 2021
Ultimately, a representative from LAHSA’s Human Resources, came down to try to pacify the boisterous chants to no avail.
That’s when Lisa Pacheco, SEIU 721 Bargaining Team Member and Steward, delivered a passionate message on behalf of SEIU 721 members.
Here’s an excerpt:
“By no means are we expendable, respect our work and our experience. Do the right thing, and agree to a contract that honors and values our work. We need guaranteed fair wage increases and bonuses.
Don’t nickel-and-dime us with the contingencies you are proposing — we know our worth — value our work.”
For months, SEIU 721 represented workers have been in negotiations to renew their union contract that expired on June 30, 2021. Despite the SEIU 721 Bargaining Team negotiating in good-faith, LAHSA management is dragging their feet, and continues to offer modest increases based on contingencies, not guaranteed.
Time and time again, LAHSA SEIU 721 members have bailed out the agency when their funding has come under threat. When the LA City leaders were threatening to cut funding, SEIU 721 members jumped into action and met with multiple Councilmembers, and moved them to extend funding through 2022.
A large segment of the LAHSA workforce, the Homeless Engagement Team (HET) members, has not stopped working outside in the streets and in the community throughout the pandemic in spite of all the variants. When they’ve faced layoff threats, and continue to see their colleagues burn out and leave LAHSA, they continue doing their lifesaving work because they genuinely care for their clients.
That’s why SEIU 721 members are saying enough is enough. They’re on the frontline of the unhoused crisis, and they’re part of the solution and need a fair contract now.