SEIU 1021

Holiday message from President Theresa Rutherford


Two words summarize 2023 best: worker power.

In the Midwest, 150,000 auto workers went on strike for several months, leading to historic contract gains and inspiring non-union autoworkers to organize. In the South, the labor movement has found new life as service workers across multiple industries have united with the Union of Southern Service Workers to raise the South’s minimum wage. Across the nation, more than 9,000 Starbucks employees have unionized at more than 380 Starbucks stores.

Here in California, SEIU 1021 and our partners have been breaking new ground and leading the way. We continue to fight for social, economic, and environmental justice for workers and our community through our campaigns and political work.

This year, we lifted up more than 600,000 fast food workers and their families, primarily women and people of color, by winning a $20 per hour minimum pay raise and standing with them as they fight for their dignity and rights on the job. We also created a first-of-its-kind statewide fast-food council that will give workers a seat at the table to help set industry-wide standards. We even created a movement of clinic workers, working to pass a $25 per hour minimum wage law for the healthcare industry and lifting up the invaluable contributions of these workers to the community. 

Thanks to our brave and committed workers at Laguna Honda and our community allies we fought back against the closure of Laguna Honda Hospital, a one-of-its-kind health care facility that serves the community of San Francisco and leads the nation in its groundbreaking research and holistic approach to the delivery of care. We have secured historic contracts across our local, winning  some of the highest COLAs and benefits we’ve ever gotten, and we are a more united, more powerful labor union than we’ve ever been.

As I look forward, I know that management will try to push austerity policies across our jurisdictions. This will create challenging circumstances within our public budgets — but even more so, I know that the resolve, strength, and unity of SEIU 1021 members is unbreakable. Despite the menacing power of those who wish the labor movement harm, I continue to look forward. I look forward to continuing to build power within our union by increasing our membership and strengthening our voice at our workplace. I look forward to continuing to shape entire industries with groundbreaking labor initiatives. And, ultimately, I look toward to a vision where every worker has dignity, safety, great pay and benefits, career advancement, and a voice at work. Together we are unstoppable. WHEN WE FIGHT, WE WIN.

I look forward to fighting and winning alongside you all in the year and years to come.

In solidarity, Theresa Rutherford