Nurses, social workers, 9-1-1 operators, tree trimmers, parks employees, librarians and other working people are under attack. Read on to get the facts and take a stand for the truth.

How Public Space is Being Privatized by the 1%

privatization-beast-attacks-library-590.jpgThe Occupy movement has taught us a lot about the role of public spaces. In short, they are under attack. We saw this with the raiding of the Occupy LA encampment and also see this with the privatization of our public libraries.

A Tour of Occupy Wall Street

MarkKlein80.jpgBy Mark Klein, SEIU Local 721 Secure Retirement Coordinator
I just returned from an inspirational vacation. On October 17 I took a subway from Harlem to Zuccotti Park in New York City  - home of Occupy Wall Street.  That day happened to be the one-month anniversary of the occupation by "the 99%."  In just one month, a spontaneous demonstration against criminal Wall Street greed has evolved into a global movement for economic justice.

SEIU 721 Heroes Presents: Franco Torres

Meet Franco Torres. He's a garage attendant for the LAPD's Wilshire Division and he's no ordinary grease monkey. Every day, Franco shows up early, determined to make sure the LAPD's vehicles are safe, working right and ready to protect you.

So the next time you see an LAPD vehicle patroling Los Angeles' 469 square miles of streets, think of the people like Franco who keep those vehicles humming along.

Snakes and Dogs and Bunnies! Oh My!

Jake Miller is an animal care technician at Los Angeles' East Valley Animal Care and Control Center, where he delivers top-notch care for both the animals at the shelter and the residents of the East Valley.

Jake's job involves cleaning dog cages and feeding hungry felines, but his favorite part of the job is finding new homes for the pets.

So what kind of animals come in to the shelter? Click the play button on the video to find out--you might be surprised at what you see!

CEO's Should Sacrifice, Not Working People

Koch-Video-Grab300.jpgHave you seen this video?

It was made by one of the anti-worker groups funded by the billionaire Koch Brothers. It's a clear attempt to pit working people against each other. They hope that private sector workers will turn on public sector workers who, the video claims, "haven't had to sacrifice" in these hard times.

One problem with their argument: it's not true.

SEIU 721 Heroes: Melissa McCollum

SEIU 721 is celebrating National Library Week.

In this video, you'll meet LA County Community Librarian Melissa McCollum. Melissa works at the Lawndale Public Library, where she plans programs for people of all ages. But Melissa's not just a celebrity in her own library. Last year, the American Library Association, the New York Times and the Carnegie Foundation recognized Melissa's dedication and excellence with their annual I Love My Librarian Award.

Do you love your librarian? In a recent poll, 96% of Americans agreed that because public libraries provide free access to materials and resources, they play an important role in giving everyone a chance to succeed.  

So sit back and enjoy this video about one of LA County's finest. And when you're done, make sure you thank your favorite library worker this week for helping give people a chance to succeed!

Salary Cuts "Scaring People Away" From Public Service Jobs

Earlier this week, incoming Los Angeles Schools Superintendent John Deasy revealed that he will voluntarily forego $55,000 of his $330,000 annual salary in order to show solidarity with the teachers and other school employees he'll soon fire due to budget shortfalls.

It's one thing for Deasy to take a 16% salary hit - he's still left with a whopping $275,000 annual salary.

But what about public employees who don't receive six figure salaries?

Slice of Wisconsin Comes to So-Cal

riverside200.jpgOn Monday, Riverside County supervisors voted unanimously to dramatically reduce retirement benefits for all newly hired employees.
The move won't save the county a dime in the short term. It won't help balance the county's budget. It won't keep vital services operating. And it probably isn't even legal.
So why do it?

Court Reporter: 'No Matter If You're a Private or Public Worker, We're All in Jeopardy.'

Two weeks ago, LA Superior Court Reporter Arnella Sims joined a coalition of 161 teachers, firefighters, social workers and other public service workers who flew to Madison to show solidarity with the brave workers there who are fighting to protect their bargaining rights. Arnella's still got the cold she picked up in frigid Wisconsin, but that didn't stop her from sitting down with Truth Tracker to discuss her experiences in Wisconsin and beyond.

Californians Need Debate on Retirement Security Based on Facts, Not Scare Tactics

A new poll released today shows that anti-worker politicians and their media pundit allies are continuing to misinform the public about the retirement plans of nurses, parole officers, road maintenance workers and other public employees.

In the wake of this poll, here are some facts about retirement security that deserve attention.

Wisconsin Gov. Awakens Sleeping Giant

Wisconsin Gov. Walker and his anti-worker allies are determined to take away Americans' collective bargaining rights. But in the process they've awoken a powerful sleeping giant: middle class, working families.

Beyond Wisconsin: Stand Up for Working People

Republicans in Wisconsin's State Senate gamed the rules and rammed through a controversial bill attacking working families.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and the Republicans' ideological war on the middle class and working families is now indisputable, and their willingness to shred 50 years of labor peace, bipartisanship, and Wisconsin's democratic process to pass a bill that 74% of Wisconsinites oppose is beyond reprehensible and possibly illegal.

Three Facts About Working People That Wisconsin Gov. Walker Doesn't Want You to Know

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and his alliance of anti-worker politicians and media pundits, who make sport of attacking teachers, nurses and other working people, seem to think that by repeating their lies over and over again, they can somehow make them come true. Thank goodness there are responsible writers out there reporting the facts that the governor would prefer you not know.

The Myth of the Militant Public Service Worker

No sooner had Scott Walker announced his intent to strip teachers and nurses of their collective bargaining rights than the anti-worker Wisconsin governor also said the National Guard was "'prepared...for whatever the governor, their commander-in-chief, might call for.'"
By invoking the National Guard, Walker was implying that the clerical assistants and university technicians who would naturally object to his undemocratic power grab would turn violent.
Of course, that was nonsense. And the proud, brave workers who have protested Walker's despicable actions have proven themselves, over the past two weeks, to be respectful, honorable and most of all, peaceful.

Wisconsin: A View From the Ground


Earlier this week, a coalition of 161 teachers, firefighters, social workers and other public service workers from across Southern California flew to Madison to show solidarity with the workers there who are fighting bravely to protect their bargaining rights.

Blanca Gomez was among the people who went to Wisconsin. She's a social worker with LA County.

"When I heard we were organizing to go to Wisconsin," she says, "I didn't have to think twice about it." Gomez says she went to Wisconsin to show the workers there that "it's our fight too. I wanted to show them we stand united with them and we are going to get through this by uniting together."

Gomez says she was overwhelmed by the incredible feeling of unity she felt among her fellow workers as they all protested Governor Scott Walker's scheme to strip them of their collective bargaining rights. "It was amazing how we could come together with one voice."

Gomez says the Wisconsin workers couldn't have been more appreciative of her support. "People cried and thanked us for coming," she says. In fact, she remembers one teacher she met who told her, "'Now I know why they call it the City of Angels. It's because you guys are truly angels for coming here.'"

Did you go to Wisconsin? Share your experience with us in the comments section below.

For photos of SEIU members in Wisconsin, click here.