NEWS: The Governor vetoed our Summer Unemployment Insurance bill.

“Disappointed. Angry. More determined than ever.”

Dear SEIU Local 99 member,

I think LAUSD Bus Driver Latosha Thompson says it best: “Disappointed. Angry. More determined than ever.” That’s how I feel, too.

Governor Jerry Brown had a chance to provide a safety net for those unable to find temporary summer jobs. He had a chance to do the right thing. But he chose to “protect” employers.

But what about hardworking, dedicated school workers who struggle near poverty every summer? What about all of you who devote yourself to your schools because you love the kids.

The Governor missed an opportunity by not signing AB2197, the Summer Unemployment for School Workers Bill. But beyond angry, I’m feeling incredibly proud of Local 99 members because we pushed this issue further than it has ever gone before—and we changed the conversation in Sacramento.

When we started speaking out about this injustice, California’s leaders didn’t really know about it. Now, both the Assembly and the Senate agree with us that it’s unjust to deny school workers’ access to unemployment benefits in the summer. Up until this year, our bill and its predecessors had never even made it to the Senate floor, let alone to the Governor’s desk.

We’ve come this far because you haven’t stopped fighting. Even though similar bills had already failed, you didn’t give up. Here’s what I’m so proud of:

We have been—and will continue to be—RELENTLESS!

  1. Hundreds of SEIU Local 99 members went all the way to Sacramento—multiple times!—to speak out about the need for access to this basic safety net.
  2. We lobbied legislators in their local district offices.
  3. We spoke out at legislative committee hearings.
  4. We rallied.
  5. We made phone calls.
  6. We delivered postcards.
  7. We signed petitions.
  8. We sent more than 60,000 emails.
  9. We spoke out on social media.
  10. We contributed to reports and media stories.

Even though we’re not there yet with our legislative bill, I know that with this kind of action and commitment, we will bring an end to school workers’ cruel summer.

We’re already working hard on several fronts:

  • We’re working to pass Proposition 55. This proposition on the November 8 ballot will ensure continued funding for our schools—to help expand student programs, including summer school.
  • We continue to connect members with resources and other relief through our Summer Relief Resource Fair and other opportunities.
  • And we continue to speak with leaders both locally and in Sacramento about the urgent need to ensure that school jobs are good jobs that can support school workers as #WeMakeSchoolsGreat.

Together with you in our relentless fight,

Max Arias
Executive Director,
SEIU Local 99

P.S. I believe that we will win. Let’s keep up the fight. Help us pass Proposition 55 this November to secure funding for student programs, including summer school. Sign-up at

Comments are closed.