One to One

Written by SEIU 721 members, this blog features our stories, ideas and opinions on everything from national politics to our worksites. Join the discussion and build democracy through dialogue.

'We Are the Union'

Facing some health challenges, I knew I needed to change my lifestyle. I told myself I would work on getting healthier before my follow-up check-up at the end of June.  I shared my lifestyle change challenge with my twin  sister, and she agreed to join me. We committed to reduce carbs, fast foods and sweets, and engage in physical activities 3-4 times a week.  We signed an agreement on May 31, 2013 and began the Jump Start Challenge on June 1, 2013.

My Contract is For My Family

We're serious about winning --and management needs to get the message: We'll do what it takes to protect our communities, our families and our futures.

We have the strength and the numbers to win a great contract, but everyone has to go on a Unity Break on October 1.
If you haven't already signed up for October 1st, you can do that by clicking here.  It's time for everyone to step up and take this campaign to the next level. 
You might think you don't have time, but I am here to tell you that you can't afford to stay on the sidelines.
We have gone without raises for four years and now the County wants to raise the premium on our family healthcare coverage. My family depends on me for its healthcare insurance. I know I am not alone. I have co-workers who have partners and children with chronic illnesses that require dependable and affordable healthcare. 
I am taking action on October 1 because my family is counting on me. You might be taking action because of workload safety or because you want corporations to start paying their fair share of taxes. It doesn't matter what your reason is. Your reason is my reason because we're one union, and on October 1 we are speaking with one voice.

Gisela Batres
Clinical Social Worker
Mid Valley Health Center

We Deserve a Vote on Immigration Reform

2013-2016-EBoard-Oscar-Valladares-1x125internal.jpgIn June, the U.S. Senate passed an immigration reform bill. It wasn't perfect, but it would put millions of undocumented people on the path to legalization. After it passed, a wave of excitement swept through our movement. 

Although the House has failed to take up the bill so far, our movement hasn't stopped. It has continued to grow.

Why You Should March on Labor Day

Joaquin-Miramontes_2x125long.jpgClick here for information on this year's Labor Day events. All SEIU 721 members are encouraged to participate.

Working people should be together on Labor Day. It's our day.

As a Supervising Social Worker, I work hard for LA County's children. That's my job and I love it. But I've always been active in my union. I have always cared about working people because I understand their struggles. They are my struggles too.

For the past five years, I have represented SEIU Local 721 on the LA/LB Harbor Labor Coalition, the group that organizes the big Labor Solidarity Parade on Labor Day in Wilmington, the Port of LA.

I got involved with the parade because SEIU hadn't been involved for some time. I thought that should change. We are a big union and we support our union sisters and brothers throughout the region. Now, SEIU 721 is a prominent part of the Labor Solidarity Parade.

Change Begins With You

Hector-Velasquez-DPSS-East-Valley_blog-pic.gifMy name is Hector Velasquez. I work at the East Valley DPSS office as an eligibility worker. East Valley has a history of disparity among monolingual and bilingual eligibility workers, where bilingual workers have almost twice the cases. We circulated a petition to the workers to get management to distribute cases equitably among bilingual and monolingual medical workers. Management complied and is currently distributing the cases. 

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In the Shadows of Civil Rights

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Growing up in the 1960s, I never quite understood why my parents were so socially isolated. Even when I earned all A's in schools, they didn't always show up for special honors events.  It wasn't until I grew older that I understood my parents, undocumented immigrants from Mexico, lived in perpetual fear of deportation. 

Why I Joined the Contract Action Team

I became a Contract Action Team (CAT) member because I didn't want to be the person who sits on the sidelines and watches things happen. 

With the Affordable Care Act implementation, there are going to be tons of changes to how we do things at work. It's important to be on top of the policies which affect us and the services we provide to patients. 

Management Can't Dictate the Grievance Procedure

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It has come to our attention that DCFS HR is trying to create an end run around the grievance process. They're creating their own electronic version of the grievance form.

When a grievance arises, management wants members to fill out their form and send it directly to HR, instead of filling out the union's blue sheet and giving it to the first level manager.

Riverside County Workers Stand Against Privatization

riv_co_landfill_PE_one_to_one_125x154.jpgOn July 2, Art Fuentes, Riverside County Waste Management Senior Engineering Technician, delivered the following letter to the Board of Supervisors on behalf of his co-workers. 

By SEIU 721 members in Riverside County Waste Management Department

As workers, residents, taxpayers and voters of the Inland region, we are greatly concerned that Riverside County government officials are attempting to privatize the county-owned landfill system and sacrifice the jobs of hardworking people in the Riverside County Waste Management Department.

Not only are SEIU 721 members' jobs at stake, but so too are the quality public services we provide to residents.

We understand that during these difficult economic times local governments look for creative ways to generate revenue, but handing over control of our county's assets is not in the best interests of Riverside County residents. The workers at Riverside County Waste Management Department work extremely efficiently, and by doing so control costs, provide services that reduce the burden on taxpayers and maintain transparent operations.

Private operators, however, will only work to maximize profits--not public services, not jobs and certainly not fair wages. Corporations are driven by one goal--to deliver profits to themselves and their shareholders. Privately operated landfills may mean an increase in tipping fees and a loss of local jobs for residents of Riverside County putting our fragile regional economy at risk.

Do we really want to hand over local control of our landfills to large corporations?

Can Public Sector Jobs Survive?

Ginny-Elmore_LA-County-RN_80x80.jpgPublic sector jobs have been eroded by anti-worker lawmakers and their policy of privatizing as many services as possible. We need to renew the idea of a "trickle up" economy.

"We're Doing the Hard Work" says Art Mora

SEIU 721 member Art Mora, Public Works Maintenance Worker for the County of Ventura, spoke at the May 7, 2013, Board of Supervisors meeting. Art shares what he does at work and how the County of Ventura works because we do. The SEIU 721 County of Ventura Bargaining Committee is currently in negotiations with the County.

My name is Art Mora and on a personal note, I thank those responsible for keeping the Cross on the County Logo. 

I work for Public Works Agency as a Public Works Maintenance Worker. I am also an active SEIU 721 member.
I support the SEIU 721 Bargaining Committee and the reasonable proposals submitted by the Committee.

Save LA County Courts

arnella_kenyonx350.jpgLA Superior Court judges are doing the wrong thing. They decided to deal with a $53 million budget deficit by arbitrarily closing eight courthouses around LA County, which will send justice into chaos, inconvenience people, and cause transportation and other problems.

We've Picked Up the Tab--And Then Some

Art-Sweatman-03x125_1.jpgLA City Tree Surgeon Art Sweatman responds to LA Times columnist Steve Lopez's April 24 article, "Time for public employee unions to pick up the tab":

Turn It Up!

My name is Marianne Garcia. For eleven years, I've been working in the Department of Children and Family Services. I am currently an Intermediate Typist Clerk at Sante Fe Springs and I say, we need to TURN IT UP and tell Los Angeles County that we are overworked and overdue for RAISES!

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The Answer: Tax the Rich

Ginny-Elmore_LA-County-RN_80x80.jpgYes we have been here before.

Capitalism is an economic system that values the accumulation of wealth. In free-market economics, governmental regulation should be as little as possible. The combination of capitalism and the laissez faire, free-market economy has brought the United States to a major imbalance of wealth distribution. Today, CEOs make more than 400 times the salaries of the average worker.