Summer Relief

Unemployment Insurance: The Governor missed an opportunity to bring justice to school workers

“Disappointed. Angry. More determined than ever,” says LAUSD Bus Driver Latosha Thompson.

Read SEIU California’s press statement about Governor Brown’s Sept. 30 veto.

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 those of us who devote ourselves to our schools because we love the kids?

The Governor missed an opportunity by not signing AB2197, the Summer Unemployment for School Workers Bill. Beyond feeling disappointed, we should feel incredibly proud 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 we haven’t stopped fighting. Even though similar bills had already failed, we didn’t give up. Here are just some of the actions we can feel 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, 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 passed Proposition 55 on Nov. 8. This proposition 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.