2018 Endorsements

June Elections

Constitutional Offices

  • California Governor: Gavin Newsom
  • California Lt. Governor: Ed Hernandez
  • California Attorney General: Xavier Becerra
  • California Secretary of State: Alex Padilla
  • California Treasurer: Fiona Ma
  • California Controller: Betty Yee
  • California Insurance Commissioner: Ricardo Lara
  • California Superintendent of Public Instruction: Tony Thurmond
  • California Board of Equalization, District 2: No Endorsement

U.S. Senate

  • U.S. Senate: Kevin de León

U.S. Congress

  • U.S. Congress, District 3: John Garamendi
  • U.S. Congress, District 7: Ami Bera
  • U.S. Congress, District 9: Jerry McNerney
  • U.S. Congress, District 10: Virginia Madueno
  • U.S. Congress, District 12: Nancy Pelosi
  • U.S. Congress, District 13: Barbara Lee
  • U.S. Congress, District 14: Jackie Speier
  • U.S. Congress, District 15: Eric Swalwell

State Senate

  • District 6: Richard Pan
  • District 10: Bob Wieckowski
  • District 12: Ana Caballero

State Assembly

  • District 2: Jim Wood
  • District 4: Cecilia Aguilar-Curry
  • District 15: Jovanka Beckles
  • District 17: David Chiu
  • District 18: Rob Bonta
  • District 19: Phil Ting
  • District 20: Bill Quirk
  • District 22: Kevin Mullin

State Ballot Measures

  • Prop 68: Bonds Funding Parks, Natural Resources Protection, Climate Adaption, Water Quality and Supply, and Flood Protection. Issues $4 billion in bonds for parks, environmental protection, and water infrastructure. YES
  • Prop 69: Motor Vehicle Fees and Taxes: Restriction on Expenditures. Requires taxes and fees derived from a proposed Transportation Improvement fees and taxes to be used solely for transportation purposes, prohibits these revenues from being used to pay for previously authorized transportation bond debt service, and prohibits the Legislature from borrowing or using those revenues for unauthorized purposes. YES
  • Prop 70: Greenhouse Gas Reduction Reserve Fund. Vote requirement to use cap-and-trade revenue. Requires a one-time 2/3 vote to use revenue from the cap-and-trade program. NO

Alameda County

  • Board of Supervisors, District 2: Richard Valle
  • Board of Supervisors, District 3: Wilma Chan
  • District Attorney: Nancy O’Malley
  • Treasurer Tax Collector: Hank Levy
  • Board of Education: Joaquin Rivera

County Measures

  • Measure A: YES

City of Emeryville

  • Measure C: YES

City of Oakland

  • Measure D: YES

Amador County

  • Board of Supervisors, District 3: Lynn Morgan
  • Board of Supervisors, District 5: Andrea Macon

Calaveras County

  • Board of Supervisors, District 3: Michael Oliveira
  • Board of Supervisors, District 5: Benjamin Stopper
  • County Assessor: Tim Muetterties
  • Sheriff: Patrick Garrahan

Contra Costa County

  • District Attorney: Diana Becton

Marin County

  • District Attorney: AJ Brady

Mendocino County

  • Board of Supervisors, District 5: Chris Skyhawk
  • Board of Supervisors, District 3: John Haschak

Napa County

  • Board of Supervisors, District 3: Cio Perezk

City and County of San Francisco

  • Mayor (Ranked Choice): (1) Jane Kim (2) London Breed (3) Mark Leno
  • Board of Supervisors, District 8: Rafael Mendelman


  • Prop A – Public Utilities Revenue Bonds: YES
  • Prop B – Should Appointed Commissioners Be Allowed to Run for Office: No Position
  • Prop C – Fund universal child care and education, from infancy to 5, from an additional tax on Commercial Rents YES
  • Prop D – Fund Housing and Homelessness Services from an Additional Tax on Commercial Rents. If passed along with Prop C, would prevent tax on commercial rents from funding childcare and education as well: NO
  • Prop E – Prohibit Tobacco Retailers from Selling Flavored Tobacco Products: YES
  • Prop F – Ensure right to counsel and city-Funded Legal Representation for renters facing eviction lawsuits: YES
  • Prop G – Parcel tax for San Francisco Unified School District: YES
  • Prop H – Allow the Use of Tasers by San Francisco Police Officers: NO
  • Prop I – Relocation of Professional Sports Teams: No Position

Superior Court Judges

  • Seat 4: Andrew Cheng and Phoenix Street
  • Seat 7: Maria Evangelista
  • Seat 9: Kwixuan Maloof
  • Seat 11: Niki Solis

Sonoma County

  • Sheriff: John Mutz

November Elections

State Ballot Measures

  • The Fair Pricing for Dialysis Act (Support)
  • Business Rountable’s “Taxpayer Protection Act” (Oppose)

City of Richmond

  • Richmond Kids First (Measure E) – YES
  • Richmond Kids First Amendment (Measure K) – YES
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SEIU California Endorses Gavin Newsom for Governor

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) California today announced the 700,000-member union’s endorsement of Gavin Newsom as California’s next governor. The endorsement was announced after SEIU California members from across the state participated in the union’s One Voice Town Hall, where members met with the candidates, asked their questions, and then made their selection for the candidate they’ll support now through November.

“Newsom’s commitment to stand with workers as we fight for justice and dignity made him our choice to be our partner in the Governor’s Office. Now, we’ll show what our commitment means: working hard every day from now to November to deliver a win for workers,” said Carmen Roberts, an In-Home Supportive Services worker from Los Angeles and member of SEIU Local 2015.

“SEIU California members are ready to work to see Gavin Newsom sworn in as California’s next governor,” said Roxanne Sanchez, President of SEIU California. “We believe that California can show the nation the way forward to a society that values every person and makes real progress toward economic and racial justice. Gavin Newsom will be both a visionary leader and, more important, a partner of working people in accomplishing these goals.”

“I’m honored to have earned the endorsement of the 700,000 working people of SEIU California and proud to share their vision for a strong, diverse, dynamic and just California that can only be achieved when working people have the power that comes from joining together in their unions,” said Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom. “The key to accomplishing economic equity is ensuring more working people have the power and the right to organize. SEIU members are defending and advancing California’s values on the most crucial issues facing our state — health care, home care, criminal justice, early education to higher education, and respect for every person’s hard work, regardless of immigration status. Every day, these hard-working women and men are showing our state how a collective voice makes a difference and moves us closer to the society we aim for. As California’s next Governor, I will be proud to stand with SEIU members to create a California that respects workers’ voices and delivers on the promise of opportunity for all.”

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SEIU California Endorses Kevin de León for U.S. Senate

Sacramento, CA – The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) California today announced the 700,000-member union’s endorsement of Kevin de León to represent California in the United States Senate. The endorsement was announced after SEIU California members from across the state participated in the union’s One Voice Town Hall, where members met with the candidates, asked their questions, and then made their selection for the candidate they’ll support now through November.

 “Kevin de León is a leader who speaks up for California values.  His leadership on the most pressing challenges facing California stands in stark contrast with the dysfunctional political establishment in Washington, D.C.,” said David Huerta, Executive Board Member, SEIU California. “Kevin shouldered our fight for $15 minimum wage across the finish line, holds a strong record on environmental justice, and fought valiantly to protect our immigrant communities when the Trump Administration moved to openly attack them and divide families.  He’s stood up for us and our California values again and again and now we are proud to stand shoulder to shoulder and endorse Kevin de León to be our next U.S. Senator.”

Kevin de León took the time to meet with SEIU members and spent a day walking in our shoes.  He heard our concerns over growing inequality, and we heard his commitment to stand with us to fight injustice.  It’s clear that he shares our dreams:  to build a state and a country where every one of our children has the same opportunities to thrive, no matter where they were born,” said Michelle Melendez, Child Care Provider and Member of SEIU Local 521.

 “I am incredibly humbled to receive the endorsement of SEIU California. With SEIU members’ support, I am confident we can take the fight for our California values to President Trump’s doorstep in Washington, D.C.” said De León. “We must demand more of our elected leaders in Washington.  Right now, it is clear they lack the political willpower to prioritize the issues we care on the floor of the U.S. Senate.  It is time for new leadership that will fight tirelessly for fair and equal wages, a growing economy that generates good-paying jobs, and more opportunities for everyone. My whole life I have worked to defend our California Dream.  That’s why I won’t be just another party-line vote in Washington.  Instead, I will be the outspoken activist Californians need on the issues they care about most.”

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“We will prevail”

The results of the 2016 presidential election have shaken this country.

After an election that became an ugly spectacle debasing our country and driving a wedge through its people, we are left to fear an administration openly opposed to the values we hold dear. We have every reason to expect President-Elect Trump and the extremely conservative Congress will appoint a cabinet and Supreme Court justices that will not only seek to block our path to a fair economy, but chip away at the gains we have made: wage and hour protections, workplace safety, non-discrimination, total or partial repeal of Obamacare, commonsense immigration reform like the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, reproductive rights, and the list goes on.

We can expect an increase in the bullying and scapegoating of unions, immigrants, Muslims, women, people of color and any group that can be defined as the “other.”

How did we get here? How was it possible for someone like Trump to come to power? For those of us who are organizers, who build coalitions in our workplaces and communities, these are painful questions that touch on what we do every day. But far from being a repudiation of grassroots organizing, this election underscores its necessity. Trump is what happens when corporate power goes unchecked and individuals feel they have no power; Trump is the result when millions of people desperately throw their support behind a demagogue who appeals to their self-interest and exploits their frustrations.

But if necessity is the mother of invention, now is the time for real transformation. Our local has already begun down that exciting path—fueled by the 2015 Convention’s Vision for Power mandate towards a scalable, resilient new culture of rank-and-file activism that engages  thousands more of us at the worksite.

The old top-down system of unionism is not sustainable, and the question we need your best thinking on, is what it will be replaced by.  We know it must be inclusive and diverse, incentivize voluntary membership, activate thousands of new leaders, and expand our reach.  The rest will require your thinking—and your active participation.

Together with our allies, we can imagine a massive realignment of resources and strategy that focuses on our vision of a just society and which will become the spark of the next worker movement in America.

No doubt, there are hard times in front of us as we watch Donald Trump and a hard-line right-wing Congress take office and attempt to dismantle a century’s worth of progress. We know there will be darkness. But if thousands of us invest in the fight ahead—with our heads, our hearts and our feet, withdraw resources from failed strategies, re-commit to each other and our values—we will prevail.

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GOTV Volunteer Opportunities


Elections are important at the national and local level. Take part in Get Out the Vote programs near you to encourage voter turnout and to inform voters of the importance of electing pro-worker candidates.

View our a full list of our endorsed candidates and positions on state and local measures.

In the East Bay:

Alameda Labor Council: 7750 Pardee Lane #110, Oakland
· Saturday 11/5, precinct walks and phone banks from 9 am – 5 pm
· Sunday 11/6, precinct walks and phone banks from 10 am – 5 pm
· Monday 11/7, precinct walks and phone banks from 11 am – 7 pm
· Tuesday 11/8, precinct walks and phone banks from 9 am – 8 pm

Contra Costa Labor Council: 1333 Pine Street, Martinez OR 2191 Piedmont Way, Pittsburg
· Saturday 11/5, precinct walks and phone banks from 9 am – 5 pm
· Sunday 11/6, precinct walks and phone banks from noon – 8 pm
· Monday 11/7, precinct walks and phone banks from noon – 8 pm
· Tuesday 11/8, precinct walks and phone banks from noon – 8 pm

In the North Bay:

Noreen Evans for Supervisor: 1700 Corby Ave, Santa Rosa
· Every day from now through election day there will at least be walks and phone banks from 10 am – 1 pm.
· On Tuesday 11/1 and Wednesday 11/2, an additional precinct walk starts at 4:30 pm.
· On Saturday 11/5 and Sunday 11/6, precinct walks all day (10 am – 6 pm).
· On Monday 11/7 precinct walks and phone banks from 10 am – 1 pm
· On Election Day 11/8 there will be precinct walks all day from 8 am – 8 pm)

North Bay Labor Council: 2525 Cleveland Ave, Santa Rosa
· Monday 10/31, phone banks from 3 pm – 8 pm
· Tuesday 11/1— Friday 11/4, phone banks from 1 pm – 8 pm
· Saturday 11/5, phone banks from 10 am – 8 pm
· Sunday 11/6, phone banks from 11 am – 8 pm
· Monday 11/7 & Tuesday 11/8, phone banks 10 am – 8 pm

In North Central:

SEIU 1021 Union Hall: 2300 Boynton Ave, Fairfield
· Saturday 11/05, phone banks and precinct walks from 9 am – 1 pm
· Sunday 11/6, phone banks and precinct walks from 11 am – 3 pm
· Monday 11/7, phone banks from 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
· Tuesday 11/8, phone banks and precinct walks from noon – 7 pm

Monica Brown for Supervisor: Meet at the Benicia Safeway
· Saturday 11/5, precinct walk from 10 am – 2 pm
· Sunday 11/6, precinct walk from 11 am – 2 pm
· Monday 11/7, meeting location TBD from 10 am to 2 pm
· Tuesday 11/8, meeting location TBD from 10 am to 2 pm

In San Francisco:

SEIU 1021 Union Hall: 350 Rhode Island Ave, San Francisco
· Saturday 11/5, precinct walks and phone banks from 9 am – 5 pm
· Sunday 11/6, precinct walks and phone banks from 11 am – 7 pm
· Monday 11/7, precinct walks and phone banks from noon to 8 pm
· Tuesday 11/8, precinct walks and phone banks from 7 am – 8pm

In San Joaquin County:

Gustavo Medina for Supervisor: 1470 W. Elm Street, Stockton
· Saturday 11/5, precinct walks and phone banks from 9:30 m – 1 pm

SEIU 1021 Union Hall: 4226 Coronado Avenue, Stockton
· Monday 11/7, precinct walks and phone banks from 10:00 am – 6 pm
· Tuesday 11/8, precinct walks and phone banks from 9:00 am – 6 pm

You can also sign up to GOTV in Nevada for Hillary. Reserve your spot today!

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Why we do politics


A Message from SEIU 1021’s Executive Board

The struggle for the rights of working people happens on many levels. There is organizing and the hard work of bringing new members into the union. There are contract negotiations and sometimes, strikes. There are shop stewards and union staff who make sure contracts are enforced. There are legal battles and fights to protect our rights in the courts.

And there are elections, politics, and organizing to get pro-labor candidates into public office. None of these efforts works in a vacuum. They are all part of the same campaign to build a more just and equitable society where working people — not just the billionaires and big corporations — have the right to a decent standard of living, to economic security, to health care, to housing, to a good education for their kids and to good public

The decisions that affect our lives are made not just at the bargaining table but at school boards, city councils and county boards of supervisors; at the state Legislature and the White House, U.S. Congress, the Supreme Court and the offices of mayors and governors.

It’s critically important that the voices of working people are heard at all of those levels. And the only way that politicians will listen to us is if we work actively to elect and hold accountable people who support our agenda.

On the national level, the Supreme Court nearly dealt a devastating blow to public-sector unions — whose members are workers who deliver state, county, city and special district services to the public — which is why we will be working with you to make sure that the next members of the Court are nominated by a Democratic president — and confirmed by a Democratic U.S. Senate.

On the state level, we are working to get members of the Legislature who are willing to work with us against a governor who still insists on austerity measures for public services despite a booming state economy.

But some of our most intense electoral work is on the local level. All too often, local officials vote against labor and refuse to negotiate in good faith and agree to fair contracts. In cities, counties, school districts and special agencies like the BART Board and water districts all over Northern California, we have had to strike, picket and protest — for more hospital services, better schools and safety-net services for the most vulnerable in our communities. So when elections come around, we need to make sure those public officials are held accountable.

In June, our electoral work helped change the way that members of the Hayward City Council, which imposed a contract with severe service cuts on us, are elected. In November, we may be able to shift the balance of power at the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors where we had to strike for a contract.

The Oakland School Board has privatized more than 40 schools, eliminating union protections for the staff; in November, we hope to elect a School Board that can change that pattern. We have a strong candidate for BART Board who may be able to replace one of the most anti-labor members of that agency.

We also work with our allies to build better communities for all of us. We will be pushing rent control measures in Richmond and Oakland this fall — because our members, and their neighbors and friends, have to pay rents that are way too high.

It’s sometimes hard to find time to volunteer on political campaigns. But workers who have turned out in huge numbers to rally for fair contracts need to understand the importance of electoral work and the impact it has on our lives.

In cities all over the state we are finding that, even when we are outspent by the billionaires, the privatizers and the austerity-makers, we can still win with old-fashioned boots-on-the-ground efforts. Grassroots politics works — and we will be calling on everyone who can help to join us this summer and fall.

Take a stand. Do your part!

Volunteer for precinct walks and phonebanking.

Hillary Clinton has proven she will fight, deliver and win for working families and that’s why hundreds of SEIU members across the county are knocking on doors and turning out voters to elect her as the next president.

There’s simply too much at stake in this election. Be a Weekend Warrior Volunteer and get on the bus to Reno, NV to walk for Hillary! Reserve a spot today!

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This election is important! I want to help out.

Great! It’s easy:

  1. Phone Banking is every Monday – Thursday night until the election, 5pm, at the union hall: 350 Rhode Island Street
    (except holidays)
  2. Precinct walking is Wednesday evenings at 5, and Saturday mornings at 10 until the election, at the union hall: 350 Rhode Island Street (except holidays)
  3. If you are interested in going to Nevada to help get out the vote for Hillary Clinton, contact Brenda Barros for details

Join us some time. It’s fun, and we’ll get you some training and a partner if you’ve never done it before. Please RSVP to make sure we have food for you.

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How do I participate in SF COPE?

If you’re a member who lives or works in San Francisco, or has information important to our members in San Francisco, you are most welcome at SF COPE. We generally meet the first Thursday of the month. You can always find out when our next meeting is (and get agendas and supporting materials) by visiting the SF COPE website or join our private Facebook group.

All members are encouraged to speak and discuss issues at SF COPE, but only delegates may vote. If your chapter doesn’t currently send delegates, please have a chapter officer contact political organizer Ariana Casanova or one of the Tri-Chairs to get delegates selected.


SF COPE Tri-Chairs

Connie Smith, SFPUC

Brenda Barros, General Hospital

Josh Davidson, SF Unified Schools

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Vote for an Affordable, Livable San Francisco! SF COPE Endorsements

Find out about meetings of the SF Committee on Political Education and come share your voice and perspective

Vote by mail or in person by Tuesday, November 8!
Where’s my polling place? | Where Can I Vote Early?

Jane Kim

State Senate District 11: Jane Kim


Supervisor District 1: Sandra Lee Fewer

Supervisor District 3: Aaron Peskin


Supervisor District 7: Norman Yee


Supervisor District 9: Hilary Ronen

Kimberly Alvarenga

Supervisor District 11: Kimberly Alvarenga

Lateefah Simon

BART Board District 7: Lateefah Simon

Bevan Dufty

BART Board District 9: Bevan Dufty

SFUSD Board of Education
Vote for all four

Rachel Norton


Stevon Cook


Matt Haney


Mark Sanchez


City College Board of Trustees
Vote for all four

Tom Temprano


Alex Randolph


Rafael Mandelman


Amy Bacharach


Local Ballot Propositions




City College Parcel Tax Extension


Loans for Affordable Housing


Special Elections for Vacant Supervisor Seats


City Maintenance of Street Trees


Voting for 16 and 17-year-olds in Local Elections


Police Accountability


Public Advocate


Dignity Fund

J – NO

Set-Aside for Transportation


General Sales Tax – No Position


MTA Appointments and Budget

M – NO

Housing Commission


A Voice for Immigrant Parents in School Board Elections

O – NO

Offices Before Housing in Candlestick

P – NO

Make it Harder to Build Affordable Housing

Q – NO

Tent Ban with No Added Housing

R – NO

Neighborhood Crime Units


Hotel Tax for Homelessness and Arts


Restrictions on Lobbyists

U – NO

Raise Income Limit on Affordable Housing


Soda Tax – No Position


Mansion Tax for Free City College

State Ballot Measures

53 – NO

Restrictions on Infrastructure Funding

Make it harder and slower for the state to raise money to build or repair schools, hospitals, and public works.

55 – YES

Invest in our Children and Communities

Protect our public schools, healthcare system and other vital services from returning to the days of massive tuition hikes, layoffs and budget cuts.

56 – Yes

Tobacco Tax

Keep our children from smoking and improve health care, reduce tobacco-related healthcare costs, and save lives.

57 – YES

Give Youth and Nonviolent Offenders a Fair Path to Rehabilitation

Restore the role of rehabilitation in California’s justice system, resulting in greater public safety.

58 – YES

Strengthen Language Skills for All Students With Dual Language Immersion

Help students learn English as quickly as possible and expands opportunities for English speakers to master a second language.

61 – YES

Fight Back Against Drug Companies’ Price Gouging

Use California’s bulk-purchasing power to secure lower drug prices for prescription drugs.

62 – YES

End the Costly And Discriminatory Death Penalty System

Repeal the death penalty and replace it with life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

63 – YES

Ensure Gun Safety For All

Regulates the sale of ammunition and holds gun dealers, owners and government officials accountable for gun safety.

66 – NO

Reject a costly and reckless experiment with justice

It is confusing and poorly written; it will cost taxpayers millions, and it increases the risk that California executes an innocent person


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Local Sonoma County Endorsements for 2016 General Election

At the September 1st, 2016 meeting of the Sonoma County COPE (Committee on Political Education) the final endorsements were made for select Sonoma County Candidates and Ballot Measures. The COPE held three (3) measure and candidate forums in August that provided endorsement recommendations to the COPE.

See the graphic below for the endorsements (click to enlarge):


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School Boards Candidates Forum


SEIU Local 1021 members of all Sonoma County Chapters are invited to attend our School Boards Candidates Forum. Your COPE has invited candidates running for the Santa Rosa Junior College, Santa Rosa City Schools, and Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School district Boards. This is your opportunity to listen to what they have to say and make your voice heard in deciding who we as the union choose to endorse.

Please RSVP by contacting our Political Organizer, Michael Weinberg, at: Michael.Weinberg@seiu1021.org or (415) 717-2185.

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City Council Candidates Forum


SEIU Local 1021 members of all Sonoma County Chapters are invited to attend our City Council Candidates Forum. Your COPE has invited candidates running for both Santa Rosa and Petaluma city councils. This is your opportunity to listen to what they have to say and make your voice heard in deciding who we as the union choose to endorse.

Please RSVP by contacting our Political Organizer, Michael Weinberg, at: Michael.Weinberg@seiu1021.org or (415) 717-2185.

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A County Worker’s View on Pensions

Marion Chase - Eligibility Worker

Marion Chase – Eligibility Worker

Read this Close to Home piece on pensions by SEIU Local 1021 member Marion Chase, published in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

Marion is an Eligibility Worker with the County of Sonoma chapter.

Read article –>

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Labor Walk & Unity BBQ

Join your fellow union workers on Saturday,

Labor Wak For Noreen Flyer

Labor Walk for Noreen Evans flyer image

August 13, 2016 to kick-off the general election campaign with a Precinct Walk in the 5th District to help elect Noreen Evans as our next County Supervisor!

Meet at 9:30am at the SEIU Union office in Santa Rosa (600 B St, Santa Rosa). At 1:00pm we will then be BBQ’ing there in the parking lot. All volunteers and SEIU members are welcome to come!

Download the flyer and share it with your co-workers.

You can RSVP by calling:

  • Lisa Maldonado: (707) 363-4074  OR
  • Omar Medina: (707) 318-6631
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Courts Pizza Party!

The Sonoma County Court employees, our SEIU 1021 brothers and sisters, are in bargaining! There will be a Court Pizza Party on Thursday, July 7th in the courthouse patio from 11:45am to 1:15pm

Wear your purple and come on out and show your support for them and have some pizza too! Let’s Stand Up Sonoma County!SC-2015-action_001

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July meeting change for Sonoma County COPE

Due to the 4th of July holiday, the July meeting of Sonoma County COPE will take place on Thursday, July 7th, 2016 at 6pm at the Santa Rosa office (600 B Street, Santa Rosa, CA).

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Workers’ Memorial Day — 150 workers died per day in 2014

AFL-CIO: “Workers Memorial Day”

AFL-CIO: Job Safety Info, Toolkit & Resources

The Nation: “In the Time It Takes to Read This Article, a Person Will Die at Work in the US”

By the time you’re done reading this article, roughly one person will likely have died from dangerous working conditions somewhere in America. It could happen in virtually any job, but it’s especially likely to happen to a Latino worker, maybe someone working on your office building’s roof. …

The roughly 3.8 million occupational injuries and illnesses reported in 2014 represent the myriad ways that the economy values capital over human life: from unmonitored toxic exposures at lucrative oil and gas fields, to construction workers falling from faulty scaffolding on million-dollar office towers ― 150 work-related deaths daily. Tragedy was often preventable, but risking lives more profitable. …

While the horrific headlines about mass shootings in offices and schools represent freak events, workplace violence has remained a glaring problem: In 2014, nationwide, a total of “765 worker deaths were caused by violence,” with the vast majority of killings involving interpersonal violence (and a few dozen caused by animals).

AFL-CIO: “Death on the Job” Report

This 2016 edition of “Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect” marks the 25th year the AFL-CIO has produced a report on the state of safety and health protections for America’s workers.

More than 532,000 workers now can say their lives have been saved since the passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, which promised workers in this country the right to a safe job. Since that time, workplace safety and health conditions have improved but at the same time some conditions have gotten worse and too many workers remain at serious risk of injury, illness or death.

In 2014, 4,821 workers were killed on the job in the United States, and an estimated 50,000 died from occupational diseases, resulting in a loss of 150 workers each day from hazardous working conditions. …

Workplace violence is a serious and growing problem for workers, especially for health care professionals and women, who suffered 66% of the lost-time injuries related to workplace violence.

Remembering May Day & the Haymarket Affair

SEIU 1021: “Haymarket: Why this historic turning point for labor still matters”

The American labor movement first celebrated May 1 as a day for labor solidarity in 1886. … An event three days later in Chicago not only set the eight-hour-day movement back by years, but changed the course of labor history and the way that unions are viewed in this country. The May 4 Haymarket Square bombing and ensuing trial mark the labor movement to this day; more than 125 years later, we’re still dealing with its legacy.

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About Randy Lyman

SEIU Local 1021 Communications Dept.

Gig Economy: Now what?

Sacramento Bee: “California bill to unionize ‘gig’ workers likely dead for 2016”

“We want this to come out right,” [bill sponsor Loretta] Gonzalez said in an interview. “We just want to make sure as we create the legal framework that most people are comfortable and we’re not just jamming something through.” …

Business groups like the California Chamber of Commerce and the Internet Association, a technology industry lobbying group, opposed the bill. Labor groups including the Teamsters and the United Food and Commercial Workers were in support.

The American Prospect: “Uber, Airbnb, and Other Labor Dilemmas”

It’s one of those universally acknowledged truths that the rise of the on-demand economy creates challenges for the labor movement. Last week, a major court settlement and a backroom fracas between two unions emphasized the immediacy of those challenges. …

Both the court settlement and the SEIU-Unite Here brouhaha has created more questions than answers to how unions — and the labor movement more broadly — can effectively combat the harmful consequences of Silicon Valley’s disruption of the employer-employee relationship.

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About Randy Lyman

SEIU Local 1021 Communications Dept.

Gig Economy: The unionization of “sharing”

The unionization of the "sharing" economy1) Like fighting fire with fire, gig economy workers are beginning to fight apps with other apps.

In These Times: “These New Co-op Apps Show How to Build Worker Power In the Age of Uber”

For many labor activists, “tech” has become a dirty word. While Silicon Valley extols the virtues of the “sharing economy,” critics argue that platforms like Uber and Airbnb allow investors to reap profits by circumventing labor law and ripping off workers.

But what if workers owned the apps? A new movement called “platform cooperativism” hopes to harness the power of tech to democratize the economy and advance labor rights.

2) Last June, more than 100 Gawker Media writers and editorial employees voted to form a union the Writers Guild of America, East. This month, Google bus drivers voted to join the Teamsters. Now Gawker is urging *all* tech workers to unionize.

Gawker: “Tech Workers Should Unionize”

Last week, the drivers who shuttle San Francisco Google employees to work voted to unionize with the Teamsters. How long until their passengers do the same thing? …

So what can the well-intentioned young employee of Google or Facebook or Apple do about all this? How can the tech worker sitting on that bus, with a unionized driver and an angry crowd of sign-waving locals outside make a meaningful gesture towards equality? Here is how: they can unionize themselves. …

The most meaningful way for them to take action against the inexorable rise of inequality that is benefiting them is to stand up and declare that they are on the side of labor, rather than on the side of capital — to declare that they are workers who are on the side of all of the other workers, from shuttle drivers to gardeners to janitors to security guards, who make these tech companies function.

Wired: “Uber and Lyft Drivers Work Dangerous Jobs — But They’re on Their Own”

Huffington Post: “What We Call Uber Drivers Has Huge Implications”

In five short years, Uber has shaken up much more than just the taxi industry. With the success of its “driver partner“ business model, the ride-sharing giant has helped scramble the very concept of employment, forcing riders and regulators alike to ask themselves who qualifies as a worker and what constitutes work.

Those questions were around long before iPhone apps and surge pricing. But the sheer popularity of Uber — and the rapid growth of its driver network — has forced a debate over how to classify workers in the so-called on-demand economy. And even labor experts who are often on the same side can’t seem to agree on how to do it.

3) Meanwhile, in Sacramento, California’s gig workers may get an organizing boost from state lawmakers.

BizJournal: “Lawmaker aims to disrupt ‘gig economy’ with collective-bargaining bill”

Bay Area companies like Uber, Lyft and Taskrabbit are changing many of the traditional ways people buy services through the “gig economy.”

But a different kind of innovation is emerging 90 miles east in Sacramento, where a state lawmaker has found a creative, potentially disruptive way to bring union rights to workers in that economy.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez unveiled legislation on Wednesday that would grant collective-bargaining rights to gig economy workers who currently work as independent contractors. First announced in December, the bill would give contractors the right to negotiate as a group, boycott their company’s practices and control their own communications.

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About Randy Lyman

SEIU Local 1021 Communications Dept.

Serving Up Justice: Professors and fast food workers find common cause in minimum wage fight

The Poster Syndicate

Poster created by/courtesy of The Poster Syndicate. The San Francisco Poster Syndicate is an organization of faculty, students and former students at the San Francisco Art Institute. “We make political prints for many specific issues in the Bay Area. We grew out of the crisis around higher education — student debt and the abuse of adjunct faculty. We are here to bring art and design to many different people’s movements in hopes that their message can be heard and seen more loudly.”

The alliance between adjunct college professors and fast food workers appears at first glance to be an unlikely partnership. Yet their interests coincide more than you’d think.

According to Art Hazelwood, an art/printmaking professor at the San Francisco Art Institute, one reason is the precarious nature of the jobs: the insecurity of never knowing how long you will hold it, the lack of health care benefits or retirement plans.

“Everything is from semester to semester,” he said. “You don’t know if you’ll get one class or three or what your schedule will be.”

The anxiety level gets jacked up when you see your job being advertised even as you are doing it.

“It’s like you’re dependent on the vagaries of the administration’s goodwill,” Hazelwood said. “Or what if the administration changes and decides not to offer your class next semester?”

He noted that SFAI used to have an Urban Studies major, but the administration closed it down.

“Where do those teachers go? What do they do?” he asked.

The corporate food chain

Another commonality Hazelwood pointed to is that like fast food restaurants, schools are becoming more and more corporate, with new rules and HR people.

“Business think is creeping into academia,” he said.

Professors and fast foodies unite

The two have another common interest, this one more promising. They are both organizing with the help of SEIU. Through the work of the union, several members of the East Bay Organizing Committee — a group of fast food workers involved in the Fight for Fifteen — came to one of Hazelwood’s classes and met with a dozen of his students a year ago, last March. They discussed the issues and how to present them, which images worked and felt empowering.

Hazelwood had already introduced his students to the world of political printmaking. Under the rubric of The Poster Syndicate, they created posters for adjunct faculty organizing campaigns with students at other campuses like Mills College and the California College of the Arts, as well as for the Coalition on Homelessness and the community/labor support group Jobs with Justice. So this was not much of a stretch.

The students met several times with fast food workers and tossed around ideas until they settled on the image that would become the one for the big fast food strike last April 15: a strong African American woman standing on a heap of trash with the slogans “We are not disposable” and “Take to the Streets April 15.” They printed it on t-shirts and posters, even taking their screens to the demo on the UC Berkeley campus that day, printing on the spot to the delight of strikers and their supporters.

The Poster Syndicate came up with several designs for the Fight for Fifteen action last fall in Oakland’s Frank Ogawa Plaza. On site they had five designs people lined up for, choosing which one they wanted and having it made for them to order right there like they were at Burger King.

Coming right up

This year The Poster Syndicate came up with new designs for the upcoming Fight for Fifteen rally on April 14, 2016.

Carlos Rodriguez, one of Hazelwood’s students who met with the fast food workers and worked on some of the poster designs, noted that as a student he’s been working part-time for minimum wage at SFAI.

“After graduation you have to do an internship to get anywhere, so that may continue for a while,” he said.

Ryan Harrison, another of Hazelwood’s students, works for minimum wage cleaning up the print studio. He and his co-workers at the school are pushing for $15 an hour too. He created some posters around Mayor Lee kicking out homeless people around the Embarcadero for Super Bowl City.

“I was taken by the juxtaposition of all the money spent on Super Bowl ads and how much housing that could build,” he said. “Work that matters is so much more engaging.”

The Poster Syndicate’s work will be engaging thousands more at the April 14 rally at Oakland’s Frank Ogawa Plaza. And again they will be at the action printing on site for participants.

Fight for 15 Action & Rally
Th 4/14 -12-3p – Frank Ogawa Plaza, Oakland – 3-5:30p march and rally

SEIU International: “$15 win in California shows power of sticking together”

SEIU California: “#FIGHTFOR15 Movement Poised To Deliver A Historic Raise For Millions Of California Workers”

The Fight for $15 (#Fightfor15) national movement of millions of workers is positioned to achieve a historic victory for underpaid Californians, who will see their wages rise to $15 per hour by 2022 under an agreement announced by Governor Brown and Legislative leaders [on Monday]. The proposed legislation must still pass in the legislature.

“Fast food workers, early childhood educators, home care providers and other hard-working, underpaid Californians have made history and delivered hope to millions of families struggling to get by on wages too low to live on and without basic benefits such as sick days,” said Laphonza Butler, President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) California. …

Governor Brown and legislators will move forward legislation to raise the California minimum wage to $15 by 2022, and end an unfair exclusion of home care workers from a state guarantee of three paid sick days for all workers. …

The agreement in California is the latest and biggest victory for the Fight for $15 and underpaid workers who just three years ago launched their movement for higher pay and union rights in New York City. In California, local Fight for $15 movements have won key victories in Los Angeles, and San Francisco. When this agreement is signed into law by Governor Brown, California will be the first state in the nation to adopt this crucial standard for all workers.


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About Randy Lyman

SEIU Local 1021 Communications Dept.