SEIU Members Support Budget Agreement That Protects Children, Struggling Families, Immigrants, and Workers & Commit to Keep Fighting

Press Contact:
Maya Polon,
Maria Elena Jauregui, 818.355.5291, Spanish-language
June 24, 2024

SACRAMENTO, CA – The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) in California, 700,000 workers strong, expressed support for the budget agreement announced today by Governor Newsom and legislative leaders and vowed to continue working to rebuild the state government’s vital workforce and ensure that future budgets are balanced in ways that prevent harm to workers, public health and the Californians served by our public social safety-net. 

David Huerta, President of SEIU California and SEIU-USWW (United Service Workers West), made the following overall statement on the budget agreement:

Workers’ Voices Made a Difference 

“The agreement announced today is far stronger because SEIU members and our allies stood together and called for a budget that protects children, struggling families, immigrants, and workers. SEIU members rallied at the Capitol, called our legislators, and told our stories about the value of our work and the safety net programs sustaining the most vulnerable Californians. We thank Governor Newsom and legislative leaders for listening and finding a fair way forward.”

Dave Regan, President of SEIU-UHW (United Healthcare Workers West) and SEIU California Executive Board Member, made the following statement regarding the $25 healthcare minimum wage implementation plan:

Patient Care Strengthened: $25 Healthcare Minimum Wage  

“Coming out of the pandemic, healthcare workers lost thousands upon thousands of our colleagues – nursing aides, medical assistants, hospital janitors and other healthcare workers, who were driven away by the combination of occupational hazards, understaffing, and low wages. We knew we had to take action to address this crisis, which endangers both patients and workers. We organized and won local minimum wages; we fought at the bargaining table for more gains, and we mobilized by the thousands statewide to pass California’s first-in-the-nation, groundbreaking healthcare minimum wage.

“Of course workers are disappointed that not every low-wage worker in healthcare will receive raises this summer as the law initially scheduled, but we also recognize and appreciate that legislative leaders and the Governor listened to us as we mobilized and spoke out this year to insist that, despite a historic budget deficit, California’s patient care and healthcare workforce crisis must be addressed. 

“As a result of workers’ tireless advocacy, we are confident that the initial raise for workers who have not yet received it will happen in the Fall, depending on two factors: 1) revenue continuing to outpace projections, or 2) DHCS having the data needed to secure federal funding. All of the rest of the raises will happen on schedule. This budget means we can stop the bleeding and stabilize a healthcare system that touches every Californian, and in future years workers will be able to count on the wage increases agreed upon without doubt, delay, or further debate.”

Crystal Irving, President of SEIU Local 221 and SEIU California Executive Board Member, made the following statement on the budget’s approach to critical safety net services and public health:

Safety Net Protected: CalWORKS, Child Welfare Services, IHSS, Public Health, Child Care 

“This budget reflects California’s values by supporting families working to escape poverty, protecting vulnerable immigrant seniors served by In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS), keeping children safe by funding child welfare programs, maintaining life-saving progress on rebuilding the state’s public health workforce, and investing in the quality child care needed for a strong economy. SEIU members showed up to fight for the safety net services our communities count on, and we are proud this budget sends a strong message that a just budget is a fiscally responsible budget.” 

David Huerta, President of SEIU California and SEIU-USWW (United Service Workers West), made the following statement on critical programs to help maintain workers’ rights:

Workers’ Rights Safeguarded  

“This budget rightly recognizes that worker strength is the foundation of a healthy economy over the long term. We applaud California’s legislative leaders who prioritized a just economy with investments in California Workplace Outreach Program and the vital labor and Latino research hubs at the University of California.” 

Looking Ahead

While proud of their leading role in advocating for a final budget agreement that is far more just and equitable than earlier proposals, SEIU members know that this budget is just the beginning of a fight for fair budgets in the future and vowed to rebuild the state’s vital workforce, and ensure that future budgets are built on principles of fairness. 

Anica Walls, President-elect of SEIU Local 1000 and SEIU California Executive Board Member, vowed that SEIU members will pursue these efforts with focus and commitment:

State Services Compromised 

“While we are disheartened that this year’s budget agreement reduces the size of the state workforce which threatens to further erode the quality of public services, we remain committed in our fight to revitalize these critical programs and deliver the services Californians expect for their tax dollars.” 

Arnulfo De La Cruz, President of SEIU Local 2015 and Executive Board Member of SEIU California, made the following statement on corporations paying their fair share:

Future Budgets Must Be Approached Differently

“Before we even consider stripping protections and services for vulnerable children, people with disabilities, seniors, and struggling families, we need to ensure that wealthy corporations are contributing their fair share. The budget agreement announced today represents a small step in the right direction, but we are eager to begin more meaningful discussions about how to address the issue of tax fairness and catastrophic levels of inequality in future budgets. ”