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.

Candidate Statements ... Read Them Here!

 regional council elections.jpg


It's that time again! Regional Council elections are underway. Ballots are mailed out by Fri., Oct. 7 and they're due by Mon., Oct. 24 at 9 a.m. at the L.A., Ventura and Riverside SEIU offices. So who is running for the Regional Council and what will they do for our union? To find out, read the candidate statements here!

Why I'm Fighting for Social and Economic Justice and You Should Too

Rosario de la Cruz, left, translates for Barbara Hunter, right, as she talked about the importance of the Fight for $15.

My name is Barbara Hunter. I'm a single mom of two. I work for the City of Riverside, and I am a proud union member of SEIU Local 721.

¡Si, Mi Familia Vota! - Why it is Important to Vote

Martha Mieles delivered remarks at Mi Familia Vota's Get Out the Vote kick off.

I'm an immigrant from El Salvador whose family came to the United States for a brighter future. My father's most valued liberty was the right to vote. He instilled in all of us the importance and responsibility of voting.

Child Safety Has No Border

Almira.Garza.With.Fasters.jpgI am a children's social worker and have several years of emergency response experience for the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services.
Our American values of justice and compassion ought to guide each of us as adults -- whether a parent or not - to help kids who are in danger, regardless of economic or immigrant status.

Retiree Story - Working Longer to Make Ends Meet

I went to work for the Ventura County court system in 1970. I planned to work for 25 years, thinking I could eventually have a good retirement.

My Thoughts on the Nurse Legislative Conference

Maribel_Catillion_RN_DPH_125x168.JPGSEIU National Nurse Alliance hosted its Annual Legislative Conference from 5/6 - 5/7. The theme was "Raising Awareness for Patient Safety"

'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. 

qq1sgBilingual Kids.jpg

In the Shadows of Civil Rights

Gilda Valdez 1 rgb.jpg
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

Mellonie Freeman 80x80.jpg

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?