Campaigns, Demands & Victories
WSWA puts domestic workers struggle for justice on the map!
Starting in 1973, WSWA has won historic firsts by organizing low-income in-home caregivers, employed through the Sacramento County-run and state- and federally funded In Home Supportive Services (IHSS), a social service program for eligible low-income aged, blind and disabled. Workers and recipients of in-home care united their demands, refusing to be pitted against one another in a fight both for living wages and job benefits for the workers, and more hours of care and a say in policy of what personal care services would be covered for IHSS recipients. WSWA members have taken their demands before the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors, state legislature and the state labor commissioner, making historic gains for IHSS workers and recipients alike.
WSWA members demand living wages: “Your ‘minimum wage’ is our maximum wage!”
Sacramento County Workers Benefit Council has testified and conducted informational picket lines at public hearings of the Industrial Welfare Commission – that state body for decades was charged with regulating wages, hours and working conditions in California (its functions since replaced by the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement). Members likewise brought demands to the state legislature, laying out the reality of what would constitute a “living wage” and why domestic and other low-paid service workers, part-time, temporary and seasonal workers demand it and reject the notion of a “minimum wage” that is really our maximum wage or, as the saying goes, it’s not enough to live on but a little too much to die.
WSWA members challenge modern-day slave labor; corporate welfare & privatization of social services
Workfare: The Sacramento County Workers Benefit Council took policy fights to Sacramento county officials and the California state legislature to denounce “workfare” as a form of involuntary servitude and, hence, slavery of social service recipients forced to work, starting in county agencies, to break the back of unionized workforces.
Enterprise Zones: Workers Benefit Council campaigns stopped or significantly reduced state-installed “enterprise zones” that give tax breaks to corporations at the direct expense of funding for public services and infrastructure projects reliant on the state’s tax base.
WSWA independent all-volunteer ad hoc Disaster Relief Units save lives
WSWA developed the tradition of Disaster Relief Units (DRU) starting in 1986 in response to the Arcade Creek flood. Membership at that time formed a committee. The committee sought to investigate the cause of the floods, and to pursue recourse for those who were promised state ad federal disaster relief assistance in the form of emergency aid, reconstruction loans or grants, but had not received it despite several Northern and Central California counties having been declared federal disaster areas eligible for federal disaster relief under the provisions of the Stafford Act.
In 1997, WSWA mobilized a DRU again for the New Year’s Day weekend floods in Yuba City which had caused the evacuation of 20,000 residents.
After the Loma Prieta Earthquake in October 17, 1989 WSWA mobilized with the Earthshock Committee to fight for relief aid—FEMA held back billions of dollars of aid.
In response to Hurricane Katrina, the WSWA DRU teams organized donations of goods and volunteers to transport where people were hit the hardest.