Summer Unemployment Benefits Bill Passes Senate Committee…One more step forward!

We took another big step foward today in our fight for summer relief

checklist to winToday, the California Senate Appropriations Committee passed AB 2197—the Summer Unemployment Insurance for School Workers Bill—on a 5-2 vote.

SEIU Local 99 members have been speaking out and we were heard! This summer, we’ve been meeting with Senators, sending emails, and reaching out to legislators on Facebook and other social media. We’ve been educating them about how there needs to be real change so that dedicated school workers aren’t forced to struggle in the summer.

And it’s not just us – school workers from SEIU Locals 1021, 521 and 221 in San Francisco, San Jose, San Diego and other cities across the state have also joined our fight to move this bill forward. Today’s victory is proof positive that we are stronger together!

SEIU Local 99 Executive Director Max Arias said: “Today’s Senate Appropriations Committee vote recognizes that school bus drivers, cafeteria staff, and special education assistants are a vital part of our children’s education who shouldn’t be treated as second-class workers under state unemployment law.  Exclusion from the safety net of unemployment puts them in a cruel catch-22: they don’t earn enough during the year to pay the summer bills, but no one wants to hire them knowing they’ll return to school in the fall.  By making hard-working school staff eligible for unemployment insurance, AB 2197 will help these dedicated workers avoid hunger and eviction.”

Here’s how the Senators on the Appropriations Committee Voted:

Senator Ricardo Lara, DemocratYes
Senator Patricia Bates, RepublicanNo
Senator Jim Beall, DemocratYes
Senator Jerry Hill, Democrat – Yes
Senator Mike McGuire, Democrat – Yes
Senator Tony Mendoza, Democrat – Yes
Senator Jim Nielsen, Republican – No

What’s Next?

Even though this was a major milestone in our fight and we’ve made great strides in raising awareness among legislators of the broken unemployment system for school workers, we aren’t t there yet. This is what needs to happen next in order for us to win:

  1. The full Senate must pass the bill with at least 21 votes, which will send it to the Governor’s desk for the first time.
  2. The Governor has until September 30 to sign or veto the bill.
  3. If the Governor signs the bill, then in 2017, we will fight to make sure that funding for our unemployment insurance is included in the state budget

Comments are closed.