Across California, SEIU wins for clinics workers and the communities that depend on them
A huge victory for community clinic workers! For the first time in our state’s history, all community clinic workers will receive $1,000 retention bonuses.
This victory wouldn’t have been possible without the participation and leadership of SEIU clinic workers across California. By uniting and bringing lawmakers’ attention to the struggles we face, we were able to secure this historic investment in workers.
You can check out a list of common questions and answers about the bonuses by clicking here.
Our community clinics have fallen into a crisis driven by long-term, systemic underfunding. This has led to understaffing, low pay, and sub-standard benefits for the essential workers keeping clinics running—all of which impacts timely access to care for our patients. California has made progress, but without improvements to our state’s safety net, we can’t fully deliver on the promise of providing healthcare access for our vulnerable residents.
One out of every six Californians receives care at a community clinic in our state. Community clinics often also provide dental, mental health, and other essential care, and they provide culturally-specific care to the diverse communities of our state. Clinics are a critical part of our healthcare safety net and without them, millions of Californians would have no access to basic and critical care.
Angel Valdez is a layout graphic designer for an Oakland clinic called La Clinica. He’s been there for more than 20 years, and serves both as their chapter president and as the nonprofit industry chair in SEIU 1021. He said, “This is a great victory for all clinic workers across California. It really shows what we can accomplish when we come together, because this took workers from SEIU locals from across the state going to Sacramento to lobby again and again. We formed a committee of clinics workers throughout the state to make sure we’re keeping up the fight and increasing the pressure for continued funding.
“This bonus is great, but most clinics are underfunded, and if we’re going to fulfill our mission of serving underinsured patients and communities of color, we’re going to need increased regular funding, not just one-off bonuses,” he added. “This is just the beginning. We’re working on a $25 an hour minimum wage for clinics workers, and we’re going to send all our leaders back into the worksites to show non-union clinic workers what we can do when we join together. It’s important that we grow our movement. This isn’t the finish line!”
Retention bonuses are an important first step in making sure that our community clinics have the necessary resources to invest in the workers. We are the backbone of our community clinics, and by uniting together in SEIU, we have the power and the voice to advocate for ourselves, our families, and our patients. This victory proves that when we organize ourselves and our coworkers and use every tool at our disposal, we can win for ourselves and our communities.
If you’re on Twitter and want to thank the governor for taking steps to invest in SEIU members and our life-changing services, you can retweet his announcement here.