Search Results for: summer unemployment

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

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Summer Unemployment Insurance Bill (AB 2197) is now on Governor Brown’s desk. Sept. 30 is his deadline. Take action now!

This is exciting stuff! AB 2197—the Summer Unemployment Insurance Bill our union has been fighting tirelessly for on behalf of over 284,000 classified school workers in California is now on Governor Jerry Brown’s desk.  AB 2197 will make all school employees in California eligible to receive unemployment insurance when school is out if they meet certain requirements. This is the safety net we all need and deserve.

It’s up to Governor Brown to either sign or veto the bill. We’ve just been informed that he has until Sept. 30 to take action. So we must take action today.

Tell Governor Brown why he should end the cruel summer for school workers by signing AB2197:

  1. Send an email.
  2. Call him at 916-445-2841
  3. Post a message on your Facebook Account and tag @JerryBrown. Be sure to use the hashtags #EndTheCruelSummer and @AB2197

If the Governor signs the bill we’ll move on to the final step – making sure he includes funding for benefits in the state budget. It’s still a fight but we’re closer than we’ve ever been before. We’ve already gotten both the State Assembly and the State Senate to agree that school workers should not have to suffer in the summer. Now it’s up to the Governor.

If you’ve been sitting on the sidelines letting other members do the work of moving this bill, it’s time to rise up in unity with your fellow school workers and say in a collective voice to Governor Brown: “We want economic justice and we want it now!”

Max Arias, Executive Director of SEIU Local 99 said: “California’s school bus drivers, cafeteria staff, and special education assistants who are a vital part of our children’s education live in poverty in the summer months when school is out.  With few employers willing to hire them just for the summer, many go hungry,  resort to collecting cans, or rely on social services  because state laws unfairly exclude them from the unemployment system.  Today, the State Senate responded to our stories and the moral imperative to help these dedicated workers avoid hunger and eviction by passing AB 2197. Gov. Brown can end a cruel summer for hard working education staff and save money for taxpayers by signing this vital bill.

Sign-up to receive text message notifications to stay updated on the Governor’s action. Simply text SEIU99 to 787753. Also, follow us on Facebook.

Together, we can win this!

Here’s the vote breakdown of the State Senate vote on AB2197 on August 22, 2016. This vote moved our bill directly to the Governor’s desk. And it showed that the State Senate and State Assembly agree that the cruel summer must end for dedicated school workers. Now it’s up to Governor Brown to agree.

Yes No Not Present
Benjamin Allen (D)
Jim Beall (D)
Marty Block (D)
Cathleen Galgiani (D)
Steven M. Glazer (D)
Isadore Hall, III (D)
Loni Hancock (D)
Ed Hernandez (D)
Robert M. Hertzberg (D)
Jerry Hill (D)
Ben Hueso (D)
Hannah-Beth Jackson (D)
Ricardo Lara (D)
Mark Leno (D)
Connie M. Leyva (D)
Carol Liu (D)
Mike McGuire (D)
Tony Mendoza (D)
Holly J. Mitchell (D)
Bill Monning (D)
Richard Pan (D)
Fran Pavley (D)
Bob Wieckowski (D)
Lois Wolk (D)
Joel Anderson (R)
Patricia C. Bates (R)
Tom Berryhill (R)
Anthony Cannella (R)
Ted Gaines (R)
Bob Huff (R)
John M. W. Moorlach (R)
Mike Morrell (R)
Janet Nguyen (R)
Jim Nielsen (R)
Jeff Stone (R)
Andy Vidak (R)
Kevin de León (D)
Jean Fuller (R)
Richard D. Roth (D)

Where’s the bill right now?

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AB 2197: Summer Unemployment Insurance Bill Updates

Check out our new page dedicated to updates on AB 2197, the Summer Unemployment Insurance for School Workers Bill, as it moves its way through the California State Legislature

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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
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Speak out for Summer Unemployment Benefits: Join us for local visits with Senators

Our Summer Unemployment Insurance bill is moving further than it ever has before. While we still have a long way to go, our voices are being heard and we must keep pushing forward for as long as it takes to win.

Take Action this Summer to help get this bill through the State Senate

Join us as we meet with State Senators in their local Los Angeles-area offices to let them know dedicated school workers need a summer unemployment insurance safety net. Click here to sign-up.

Here’s a summary of what’s happened so far this year:

February 18: Assembly Member Cristina Garcia introduced the Summer Unemployment Insurance Bill (Assembly Bill 2197) in the state legislature.

April 20:  Our bill is approved by the Assembly Insurance Committee.  SEIU Local 99 Member and LAUSD Special Education Assistant Kathleen Hamm spoke before the Insurance Committee before their vote telling them: “I love seeing kids aspire to their fullest potential. But the summers are hard. People ask me how I make it. Well, do you know what dumpster diving is? When people are sleeping I’m out collecting glass bottles, cans, whatever is recyclable. Yet, even with these struggles, I have never thought about leaving my job. I love the kids and the students. And there are many, many dedicated school workers like me.”

May 18-19: Dozens of SEIU Local 99 members took the Midnight Ride to Sacramento to speak directly with legislators about the need for summer relief for school workers.

May 27: The Assembly Appropriations Committee voted in favor of our bill. It is the first time the bill moves out of this committee. Previous bills had died in the Appropriations Committee. Amendments made to the bill at this point require that funding for unemployment benefits be paid out of the state budget.

June 2: the California State Assembly voted to pass our bill. This marked the first time the Assembly approved the bill. It’s the furthest our bill has gone in the past several years of our fight for access to unemployment insurance benefits.

June 22: Our bill passed the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee. It’s the first committee in the Senate. The bill next moves to the Senate Appropriations Committee where it must be voted on before the end of the summer. If it passes the Senate Appropriations Committee, it will be voted on by the full Senate. If it is approved by the Senate, the bill goes to the Governor for his signature or veto.

Here is how the Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee voted:

Tony Mendoza (Chair)  Democrat


Jeff Stone (Vice Chair)  Republican


Hannah-Beth Jackson  Democrat


Mark Leno Democrat


Holly J. Mitchell  Democrat


Let’s keep pushing forward!

It’s important to note that amendments to the bill mean we’ll need to expand out fight to ensure there is funding for unemployment insurance benefits in the state budget. While we still have a long way to go, the movement of this bill so far means that our voices are being heard. Legislators are agreeing that dedicated school workers should have an unemployment insurance safety net to help us get through the summer months. We won’t stop until we win!


Read the following press statement from SEIU Local 99 Executive Director Max Arias released after the Assembly passed the bill:


Sacramento, CA – The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) California released the following statement today after the Assembly passed AB 2197 (Garcia) on a 46-23 vote.  The bill would eliminate an unfair exclusion of classified employees from unemployment benefits during the summer months when they don’t receive a paycheck:

Max Arias, Executive Director of SEIU Local 99, said:

“SEIU applauds Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia and the Assemblymembers who voted to deliver dignity to hard-working school staff who ensure a good school experience for our kids, even as they have a hard time feeding their own families.

The passage of this bill by the Assembly brings us one step closer to ensuring that workers who have made education their life’s work can have a basic unemployment safety net. It sends a strong message that our state must continue to invest in lifting working families out of poverty.

“An unfair exclusion of classified school employees from unemployment benefits has left many low-wage school workers in poverty.  Each year, school staff who are predominately women and people of color experience a ‘cruel summer’ – no paycheck and few opportunities to find short-term replacement work.

“Importantly, when passed by the Senate and signed by the Governor, this bill will help retain the dedicated bus drivers, cafeteria workers and other essential school staff California students and families count on.”

Click here to read a story about our fight on KPCC Southern California Public Radio

Here’s how the Assembly Members voted:

Kansen Chu  Democrat


Jim Cooper  Democrat


Matthew Dababneh  Democrat


Brian Dahle  Republican


Tom Daly  Democrat


Bill Dodd  Democrat


Jim Frazier  Democrat


James Gallagher  Republican


Cristina Garcia  Democrat


Eduardo Garcia  Democrat


Mike Gatto  Democrat


Mike Gipson  Democrat


Jimmy Gomez  Democrat


Lorena Gonzalez Democrat


Richard Gordon  Democrat


Adam Gray Democrat


Shannon Grove  Republican


David Hadley  Republican


Matthew Harper  Republican


Roger Hernandez  Democrat


Chris Holden  Democrat


Jacqui Irwin  Democrat


Brian Jones  Republican


Reginald Jones-Sawyer, Sr.  Democrat


Young Kim  Republican


Tom Lackey  Republican


Marc Levine  Democrat


Eric Linder Republican


Patty Lopez  Democrat


Evan Low  Democrat


Brian Maienschein  Republican


Devon Mathis  Republican


Chad Mayes  Republican


Kevin McCarty  Democrat


Jose Medina  Democrat


Melissa Melendez  Republican


Kevin Mullin  Democrat


Adrin Nazarian  Democrat


Patrick O’Donnell  Democrat


Jay Obernolte Republican


Kristin Olsen Republican


Jim Patterson Republican


Bill Quirk  Democrat


Antony Rendon  Democrat


Sebastian Ridley-Thomas  Democrat


Freddie Rodriguez  Democrat


Rudy Salas, Jr. Democrat


Miguel Santiago  Democrat


Marc Steinorth  Republican


Mark Stone  Democrat


Susan Talamantes-Eggman  Democrat


Tony Thurmond  Democrat


Philip Ting Democrat


Donald Wagner  Republican


Marie Waldron  Republican


Shirley Weber  Democrat


Scott Wilk  Republican


Das Williams  Democrat


Jim Wood Democrat


Please note that the vote score may change as it has been held open for those who were not present.

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State Assembly to Vote on Summer Unemployment Bill this week. Take Action today

On May 27, 2016 our summer unemployment benefits bill passed the Assembly Appropriations Committee and this week the full State Assembly will be voting on AB2197 which would extend a basic unemployment safety net to dedicated school workers.

Click here to send an email message to Assembly Members urging them to vote yes!

Thanks to all the hard work of SEIU Local 99 members over the past several years, this year our Summer Unemployment Insurance Bill has gone further than it ever has before. In April, the bill was approved by the Assembly Insurance Committee. Last week, the Assembly Appropriations Committee voted yes. This was a major step forward because three previous bills have died in this Committee. And now, the entire California Assembly is scheduled to vote on the bill by this Friday.

Our visits, phone calls and emails are making a difference. Don’t stop now. We have a chance to move this bill out of the Assembly this week. If it passes the Assembly, the bill will go to the Senate for a vote. And once it passes the Senate, it will get to the Governor’s desk. We still have a long way to go, including a tough budget fight to make sure there is funding for benefits, but one thing is clear – we’re not giving up until we win!

Click here to send your email to Assembly Members who will be voting on the bill this week. Let’s move this one more step forward!

Amendments in the version of the bill passed by the Appropriations Committee mean that funding for unemployment benefits will have to be set aside in the state budget. That means we’ll also need to raise our voices for a fair budget.We’ll be expanding our fight to not only talk about unemployment, but also about better employment for school workers. We know unemployment insurance will provide a much needed safety net, but real relief will come with more summer jobs, pay increases and more work hours. And we need a state budget that will ensure funding for all these things. Let’s continued to stand union strong!

Read this story on Southern California Public Radio (KPCC) about our summer unemployment insurance bill.


  • Vote on Tuesday, June 7.  In addition to the presidential race, many state legislators are also running for office. These are the elected officials who will be voting on our summer unemployment insurance bill! For the list of SEIU member-endorsed candidates Click Here.
  • An initiative to tax the rich to increase funding for schools and good school jobs will most likely be on the ballot in November. Make sure you’re registered to vote. And Vote! Register Here.


Here’s how legislators on the Assembly Appropriations Committee voted on the bill on May 27, 2016:

Assembly Member How they voted:
Lorena S. Gonzalez (Democrat) Yes
Frank Bigelow (Republican) Abstain
Richard Bloom (Democrat) Yes
Susan A. Bonilla (Democrat) Yes
Rob Bonta (Democrat) Yes
Ian C. Calderon (Democrat) Yes
Ling Ling Chang (Republican) Abstain
Tom Daly (Democrat) Yes
Susan Talamantes Eggman (Democrat) Yes
Shirley N. Weber (Democrat) Yes
Jim Wood (Democrat) Yes
James Gallagher (Republican) Abstain
Eduardo Garcia (Democrat) Yes
Roger Hernandez (Democrat) Yes
Chris R. Holden (Democrat) Yes
Brian W. Jones (Republican) Abstain
Jay Obernolte (Republican) Abstain
Bill Quirk (Democrat) Yes
Miguel Santiago (Democrat) Yes
Donald P. Wagner (Republican) Abstain




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Take Action NOW for Summer Unemployment Insurance!

Local 99 Members, our summer unemployment insurance bill (AB2197) is currently in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. Legislators on this Committee are set to vote on the bill this Friday, May 27. The Appropriations Committee is the legislative committee where previous bills for summer relief have stalled and died.

The only way we can move this bill forward is by moving the legislators! Right now, the best way to do that is for us to take collective action and put pressure on members of the Appropriations Committee who have not yet expressed support for AB2197.

This is what you can do:

  1. Send them a direct message. You can easily send a message here.
  2. Call them. These are the office phone numbers of Committee Members who have not yet indicated where they stand on AB2197:
  • Asm. Frank Bigelow (R-O’Neals)(Committee Vice Chair) – (916) 319-2005
  • Asm. Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) – (916) 319-2053
  • Asm. Ian Calderon (D-Whittier) – (916) 319-2057 (Note: He voted to pass the bill as a member of the Insurance Committee)
  • Asm. Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) – (916) 319-2050
  • Asm. Ling Ling Chang (R-Diamond Bar) – (916) 319-2055
  • Asm. Tom Daly (D-Anaheim) – (916) 319-2069
  • Asm. Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) – (916) 319-2056
  • Asm. Susan Bonilla (D-Concord) – (916) 319-2014
  • Asm. Susan Eggman (D-Stockton) – (916) 319-2013
  • Asm. James Gallagher (R-Nicolaus) – (916) 319-2003
  • Asm. Chris Holden (D) – (916) 319-2041
  • Asm. Brian Jones (R-Santee) – (916) 319-2071
  • Asm. Jay Obernolte (R-Big Bear) – (916) 319-2033
  • Asm. Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) – (916) 319-2020
  • Asm. Donald Wagner (R-Irvine) – (916) 319-2068
  • Asm. Shirley Weber (D-San Diego) – (916) 319-2079
  • Asm. Jim Wood – (D-Healdburg) – (916) 319-2002

Also, be sure to call Committee Chair Asm. Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) – (916) 319-2080 – to let her know AB2197 is something that matters to you. She already expressed her support for AB2197, but as Committee Chair, she may be able to influence her fellow members.

  1. Ask your friends, family members, and co-workers to send a message to them and call them. The more people who send messages and call, the more seriously they’ll take it.

What should I say?

Keep it simple and brief. It’s already a given that not having enough money to cover for basic living costs is hard. Give specifics:

  • Let them know about your dedication to students and how your work impacts student learning. It’s important to let them know that you care about education and that’s why you choose to work in this field.
  • Tell them that your commitment to students should not mean you have to struggle and sacrifice to support yourself and your family.
  • Share how you struggle in the summer. What are some of the difficulties you face? Have you ever lost your home? Had to run-up debt on your credit cards? How do you make it during the summer? Do you have children? How does it impact them? Be as personal and specific as you can. Legislators need to know the real impact that this issue has on people’s lives.
  • Tell them to vote Yes on AB2197.

The goal is to get these assemblymembers to know who this issue affects and how, and to keep your story in mind when deciding how to vote for AB2197.


SEIU Local 99 Members Speak Out for AB2197 in Sacramento
Lobbying for AB2197 - The Education Workers Summer Relief Act
On Thursday, May 19, SEIU Local 99 school employees took an overnight trip to Sacramento to speak out in support of AB2197, and gained ‘Yes’ commitments from several legislators. Visiting 26 offices, we spoke directly with state assembly members and senators, and their staff representatives about how we’re personally affected when school is out for the summer, and why unemployment insurance would ease our economic hardship during this difficult time. We targeted members of the Appropriations, Budget, Revenue and Taxation, Insurance, Jobs, Economic Development, and the Economy, and Labor and Employment Committees, as well as Mayor Pro Temp Kevin De Leon. 

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Education Worker Summer Relief Act: Bill Introduced to ensure summer unemployment benefits for school workers

Assemblymember Ridley-Thomas introduces legislation to bring equity and economic stability to dedicated school workers who struggle during the summer break

Assemblymember Sebastian Ridley-Thomas introduced Assembly Bill 399, the Education Worker Summer Relief Act, that will help provide economic stability for thousands of California working families by allowing dedicated school bus drivers, special education assistants, cafeteria workers, campus safety officers and other classified school workers to receive unemployment insurance benefits in the summer months when work is not available. Current law prohibits them from receiving summer benefits.

“During the academic year, in school districts throughout California, classified school employees serve our children and support their learning with deep passion, commitment and hard work,” Assembly Member Ridley-Thomas said. “Yet, during the summer months when many schools are not in session, these dedicated education workers often struggle to pay their rent and feed their own children. This legislation begins a dialogue about correcting an inequity in our state’s current unemployment insurance system to ensure that classified school workers can receive the seasonal benefits they deserve.”

“I love what I do with a passion,” says Cesar Solis, a Special Education employee at Leichman Special Education Center in the Los Angeles Unified School District. “But hard times make it difficult to continue. Sometimes I get teary thinking about leaving a job I really love.”

“I love my job,” says Anthony Bradshaw, a warehouse worker for the Lynwood Unified School District. “But it’s difficult in the summer. A couple times, I’ve been able to find a job. But because the job market is so tight, it’s often time to go back to work before I can find a job. This past year, I got behind on a lot of my bills. I’m trying to catch up now, but the same thing might happen this summer.”

For most school workers, finding summer jobs is almost impossible. Hiring managers don’t want to invest in employees who will only be working for two or three months.

Assembly Bill 399 would bring justice to the current unemployment insurance system by:

Recognizing the difference between the principal and the lunch lady: Classified employees are among the lowest paid workers in our schools and most work less than eight hours a day. Yet, current law is based on the rationale that all school workers – from administrators to teachers to cafeteria workers – earn enough during the school year to cover the three month summer recess period.

Ensuring equity for all seasonal workers: Classified school employees are the only seasonal workers prohibited by California law from receiving unemployment benefits. Sports stadium employees, farm workers, retail employees and other seasonal employees are eligible for unemployment benefits during their seasonal break periods.

“Many school workers who have chosen to commit their life’s work to helping educate our children are forced to live in an endless cycle of debt and poverty,” said SEIU Local 99 Executive Director Max Arias. “We must do more to ensure school jobs are good jobs by improving wages, increasing full time work, expanding summer school, and ensuring school workers have access to unemployment benefits when they need them. This legislation is a step forward toward ensuring that dedicated school workers can support their families while continuing to provide quality services to students during the school year.”


SEIU Local 99 represents employees in public and non-public organizations in early education, child care, K-12, and community college levels. SEIU Local 99 members are: Teacher’s Assistants, Playground Workers, Special Education Assistants, Bus Drivers, Gardeners, Custodians, Cafeteria Workers, Maintenance Workers, Family Service Workers, Child Care Providers, and others working in schools, colleges, and administrative offices throughout Southern California. 

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2014 Update on Summer Unemployment Insurance for School Workers Bill


Thank you to everyone who took action for Summer Unemployment Insurance Benefits. We accomplished a lot. But there’s still work left to do.

We started this year with a plan to increase awareness among legislators and our communities about the need for summer unemployment insurance benefits for school workers. In early February we kicked-off Phase One of our campaign. As we complete this initial phase, we can be proud of our accomplishments:

2-1 UI training Nearly 100 members attended a training in early February to help plan and lead our work. Assembly Member Raul Bocanegra, the author of the Summer Unemployment Insurance Bill, joined us. We followed-up this meeting with a training for more than 30 members who committed to be lobby captains and lead visits to legislators.
delivering-postcards Thousands of postcards to legislators in support of summer unemployment benefits were signed by Local 99 members, family, and friends. The postcards were delivered to the Deputy Chief of Staff of Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins on May 21 in Sacramento.Hundreds more have taken action online, signing our petition on Change.Org.
IMG_8224 Forty Local 99 members took the Midnight Ride to Sacramento on May 21 and met with legislators directly in the capitol to stress the importance of this legislation.
Dem Convention Booth A highly visible booth at the California Democratic Convention in March helped us speak with thousands of legislators and other movers and shakers in the state about summer unemployment insurance benefits for school workers.
Adrian C others with Mckenna reduced All candidates seeking SEIU’s endorsement completed a questionnaire where they stated on the record that they support summer unemployment insurance for school employees. And at the endorsement Town Halls, member asked them questions about their support.
MRT and 99 We met with dozens of legislators during local lobby visits in their Southern California offices to share our stories about how the lack of benefits impacts our families. We also educated and invested local elected leaders in our fight for unemployment insurance. Members are pictured here with L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas.
photo 2 cropped Jim Lira, a Special Education Assistant at LAUSD, gave powerful testimony to the Assembly Insurance Committee on April 23 about his commitment to education and how his own family struggles to make ends meet. After hearing Jim speak, the Committee voted to move the bill forward to the next step in the legislative process.

 That’s a lot of work! But it’s only the beginning …

We succeeded in passing the bill out of the Assembly Insurance Committee. Unfortunately, it did not move out of the Appropriations Committee. A sticking point was the nearly $400 million price tag that was placed on this bill. This is what the state estimates it will cost annually to pay out benefits to school workers.

We know, of course, that the cost is much greater to our families. We are committed to moving forward and stepping up our fight. We are currently making plans to reintroduce the bill at our next opportunity in early 2015 when the next legislative cycle begins.  Let’s show legislators that we won’t give up until we win!

Stay Strong. Stay Active.

Join us at the next meeting of Local 99’s Committee on Political Action (COPA).

Participate in planning for Phase Two of our fight to win summer unemployment insurance benefits for school workers.

We meet every First Friday of the month.  Check the Calendar of Events on for details on upcoming meetings or contact Caroline Mello at


Midnight Ride To Sacramento: May 21, 2014

SEIU Local 99 members took the “Midnight Ride to Sacramento on May 21 and spent a day in the state capitol sharing their stories with legislators about the need to support Assembly Bill 1638: Summer Unemployment Insurance Benefits for School Workers and Assembly Bill 641: A Voice for Quality Child Care. Members also presented Toni Atkins, the Deputy Chief of Staff for Assembly Speaker John Casey, with thousands of postcards signed by Local 99 members and others who support ending poverty for working families by ensuring school workers can receive unemployment benefits in the summer.

The summer unemployment insurance bill (AB1638) was approved by the Assembly Insurance Committee on April 23 and it is currently in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. This committee reviews the financial impact of the bill. The cost of the bill is currently estimated at $360 million annually. The bill needs to be approved by the Assembly Appropriations Committee by the end of May in order to move forward in the legislative process this year. AB641, which would give Child Care Providers a greater voice in ensuring quality care, is currently being reviewed by the Senate.

Let’s continue to stand strong. We know making big changes won’t be easy. But we’re ready to fight for as long as it takes to win!

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Support Summer Unemployment Insurance Benefits

Local 99 Members Bart Weil (foreground) and Rachel Arzu speak with California Democratic Convention delegates about the need for summer unemployment benefits for school workers.

Join our local weekly lobby visits or trip to Sacramento

On March 8, SEIU Local 99 members made their voices heard at the California Democratic Party Convention in Los Angeles. At a booth set up during the convention specifically to spread the word about our summer unemployment insurance bill, Local 99 members spoke with nearly every democratic legislator and hundreds of delegates about the need to fix the broken unemployment insurance system. We also launched an online petition that instantly sends a message to legislators and the Governor about the need to support AB1638. Add your name to the petition.

We’re following up this great event with weekly visits to legislators in their local Southern California offices and our big lobby day in Sacramento on May 21. Join us and help send the message that we must end the cycle of poverty many school workers endure due to the current system. We are the only seasonal workers denied the opportunity to receive unemployment benefits when work is not available. Let’s fix this!

Use our online sign-up form to join a weekly lobby visit or our trip to lobby in Sacramento (buses will depart late night on May 20 and return late night May 21). Questions? Contact Local 99 Political Director Caroline Mello at

Sign-up now!


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