Tag Archives: SEIU 1000

Stop the Paycuts: Delivering over 28,000 Petitions to Arnold Schwarzenegger

(full disclosure: I work for the Courage Campaign)

Today was supposed to be the day that Schwarzenegger signed the executive order to cut over 200,000 state employees pay to the federal minimum wage of $6.55 an hour.  He has delayed that action until at least Thursday, which SEIU Local 1000, the Courage Campaign, True Majority and CREDO Mobile can take some credit for.

I just got back from a great day of actions at and around the capitol on this proposed wage cut.  After picking up over 28,000 signed petitions, a big backdrop and an easel I headed to the airport to pick up Rick Jacobs, my boss and Chair/Founder of the Courage Campaign and Jethro Rothe-Kushel, our videographer.

We headed straight for the noon rally held by SEIU Local 1000, which represents nearly half of the workers at risk of living in poverty due to the proposed callous action by the governor.  It was a great rally of about 200 Local 1000 members wearing their purple shirts, marching, chanting, blowing whistles and waving signs.  Jethro snagged a few interviews with some Local 1000 members and it should be part of the video he produces in a day or two.  The folks at Local 1000 were really happy to see all of these non-union activists being so supportive of their members and pushing back against the governor.

After the rally we grabbed a sandwich and then headed over with the sign, stand and the two boxes of petitions across the street from the Hyatt, where the governor stays when he is in town.  Assemblyman Dave Jones joined us there. Sen. Florez and Controller Chiang had conflicts, but wanted to be there.  We started off across the street from the capitol with Rick and Jones doing some one on one interviews.  KCRA (local NBC affiliate), KXJZ (local NPR) and a few other print folks were there.  The governor actually left in his motorcade as Jones was doing an interview.

Rick carried the big box (that sucker must have weighed at least 60 lbs) and Jones the smaller one across to the Hyatt, plastered with the Courage logo.  We decided to drop them off at the Hyatt to point out how out of touch Arnold is with what he has proposed.  The governor pays $293/night to stay in the suite.  It would take someone working 44.7 hours at the federal minimum wage, without any taxes being taken out to afford just one night’s stay at the governor’s special rate.  That is more than a week’s worth of work!  (flip it…)

The concierge at the Hyatt was very nice, but explained that they had a policy of not accepting things for the governor and politiely suggested we take it to his office.  Then a dude came up and asked if we had permission to be filming in the hotel.  He was rather rude about it and insisted that the cameras be shut off, which everyone ignored and Jones took some umbrage with his statements.

So, we walked across the capitol, with Rick and Assemblyman Dave Jones carrying the box together and cameras and reporters in tow.  This of course attracted other reporters once we got inside.  Univision and the Bee among others.  CHP stopped us at the door and asked what we were up to an explained we could not go inside.  There seemed to be a crowd of folks, staff and lobbyists I presume inside.  CHP had a staffer come out and talk to us.  At first she suggested we take the boxes to the mail room, when Rick piped up and said something to the effect of “do you really want Assemblyman Jones to deliver this to the mail room”.  She quickly rethought her plan and said she would be right back.  A minute or two later she popped out and told us someone would be with us shortly.

It took about 10 minutes, while Rick and Jones did interviews, for the governor’s press secretary to show up.  He said he would make sure they were handled properly and gave his speil to the Rick/Dave Jones.   Well….really for the press’s benefit, about how the governor is hoping the legislative leaders work everything out in their negotiations.

He took them inside the office, but then emerged later and was headed in the direction of said mail room.

Hopefully, there will be some media coverage and it will place more pressure on the governor to rethink his proposal.  As soon as the video is done and  I get the pictures, I will be sure to put them up.  Thank you to everyone who signed the petition, Credo and True Majority for helping push this out to their members and all of you who forwarded it to your friends and family.  This is what activism is all about.

Do state employees have a right to privacy?

Or should I ask: Do state employees have to assume that newspapers will put their name, title and salary into a searchable database.  Or what about a more specific question: what is the added public benefit from having names attached to salary and title information?

Why am I asking all of these questions?  Well, the SacBee decided to create a searchable database of state employees’ salaries on their website.  Needless to say state employees are upset.  Yesterday SEIU 1000 staged a protest in front of the newspaper’s offices.  The leadership presented 3,000 signatures demanding that the database be taken down.  SacBee:

Union President Jim Hard told the protesters that he was “disgusted” by what he described as the paper’s “crass commercialism” and “callous disregard” for his members’ safety.

“Our union is completely in favor of public access to information regarding the use of their tax money, the pay scales, the classifications, the number of state employees and comparisons in any reasonable fashion to counties, cities and the public sector,” Hard said. “But to post my name up there, I’d like The Bee to explain how that helps any public policy of public finance discussion or issue.”

There is no significant need or public sunshine benefit to attaching people’s names to salary/title information.

Some state workers are already feeling the repercussions of the Bee’s actions.

The paper’s explanations have not satisfied state workers. At Wednesday’s rally, Dana Meza, who has worked at the Department of Motor Vehicles for eight years, said that since the salaries were posted “some people actually were called by bill collectors.”

Aleta Prudhomme, an employee at the Department of Social Services, said her husband, a correctional officer, once had his identity stolen, and she fears it’s going to happen again. “I just don’t see how this is really helpful,” Prudhomme said of the database.

The paper is arguing that the data has always been available and that the paper is making sure that it is not just accessible by journalists and lawyers.  That may be true, but there is a big difference from people having to request the information through state sunshine law disclosure rules and have it be in a searchable database.  Just because you can do it that does not mean that you should.

DNC WRC: “What’s New in the West”

I’m sitting in the first session, trying to use my very slow cell phone internet connection.  It’s slow, very, very slow. But, the first session is on right now.  So far, Rick Ridder, a pollster-type guy from RBI Strategies told us about the election of Bill Ritter in Colorado and the importance of conservation of the West.

Above, you’ll see Jim Hard, President of SEIU Local 1000 talking about the Alliance for a Better California (hey, I heard they had a great blogger there!) and some of the mistakes Arnold made during the 2005 Special and the importance of building coalitions.  Maggie Linden then discussed Props 73/85. More coming…