Every year, as the school year comes to a close, over 284,000 education workers across California face a roughly two month period of summer unemployment. Education workers comprise dozens of different occupational titles and job descriptions that help our schools function, including paraprofessional teaching assistants, nurses’ aides, office secretaries, clerical staff, custodians, bus drivers, and cafeteria workers. Most are low-wage workers who struggle to support their families on incomes that are often not sufficient to pay for food, housing and health care. Frequently, one or more of these basic needs is not adequately met.
While teachers enjoy higher pay and the stability of a 12-month pay schedule, classified employees of public schools are left to find other means of income leading to crippling instability and uncertainty in their lives. To add insult to injury, the State of California currently and arbitrarily makes classified employees ineligible for unemployment insurance benefits.
Instead of accepting the status quo, members of SEIU Local 99 have resolved to fight this economic injustice and end the cruel summer.
We currently have a summer unemployment insurance bill — AB 2197 — moving through the California State Legislature. AB 2197 would 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. This is the path the bill has taken, where it’s at now, and what will need to happen next if it becomes law:
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