Deborah Chesbrough, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5
Marty Bennett, UNITE HERE Local 2850
Lian Alan, UNITE HERE Local 2850
Roxana Tapia, UNITE HERE Local 49
Jason Cave, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1575
Debora Hammond, California Faculty Association, Sonoma State University chapter
Rick Luttmann, California Faculty Association, Sonoma State University chapter
Tom Popenuck, Service Employees International Union Local 1021
Debra Avanche, Service Employees International Union Local 1021
Ralph Miranda, Teamsters Local 665, Local 856, and Local 315, Teamsters Joint Council 7
Sue Gadbois, Staff Nurse’s Association Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital
Sandra Larsen, Petaluma Federation of Teachers
Community Based Organizations:
Rick Coshnear, Comité VIDA (formerly Committee for Immigrant Rights)
Tomas Phillips, Peace and Justice Center of Sonoma County
Phil Tucker, California Healthy Communities Network
Jesús Guzmán, Graton Day Labor Center
Curtis Byrd, NAACP of Sonoma County
Matt Myres, Our Lady of Guadalupe Church
Marty Bennett, labor co-chair
Tomas Phillips, community co-chair
Tom Popenuck, treasurer
Deborah Chesbrough, secretary
P.O. Box 427
Santa Rosa, CA 95402
600 B St.
Santa Rosa, CA
Debra Avanche, SEIU 1021, Action & Mobilization Committee chair
Rick Luttmann, CFA SSU, WalMart supercenter chair
Matt Myres, Workers Rights Board chair
United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5
UNITE HERE Local 2850
Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1575
California Faculty Association Sonoma State University chapter
Teamsters Local 665, Local 856, and Local 315
Teamsters Joint Council 7
Staff Nurse’s Association Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital
Petaluma Federation of Teachers
Community Based Organizations:
Comité VIDA (formerly Committee for Immigrant Rights)
Peace and Justice Center of Sonoma County
California Healthy Communities Network
Graton Day Labor Center
NAACP of Sonoma County
2000 SEIU 707, community organizations, and faith and labor activists form the Living Wage Coalition of Sonoma County (LWC).
2000 LWC and North Bay Labor Council lobby the Petaluma City Council to include Living Wage and 'card-check/neutrality' provisions in the development agreement for the proposed Petaluma Sheraton Hotel and Conference center. The developers received $2.75 million in tax breaks and loans from the city and agreed to remain neutral if the employees choose to organize a union. The hotel opens in 2002, and in 2005 Sheraton workers voted for representation by UNITE HERE Local 2850.
2002 LWC supports an organizing campaign by 4000 County of Sonoma In-Home Support Services (IHSS) workers who vote for representation by SEIU United Health Care Workers West (UHW).
2003 LWC organizes a one-year grassroots Living Wage campaign and the City of Sebastopol passes the first Living Wage Ordinance ($11.70 an hour with benefits and $13.20 without with COLA) in Sonoma County.
2004 City of Sonoma approves a Living Wage Ordinance ($11.70 an hour with benefits and $13.20 without and COLA) after a one-year campaign.
2005 LWC participates in a coalition that proposes a Jobs-Housing Linkage Fee passed by the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors to increase funding for affordable housing. Board approves the legislation, as do four other cities in the county over the next two years.
2006 City of Petaluma approves a Living Wage Ordinance ($11.70 an hour with benefits and $13.20 without benefits) after an 18-month campaign. The living wage laws approved in each of these three cities in the county mandate annual cost of living (COLA) increases based upon the Consumer Price Index. In 2015, the Petaluma living wage rate was $13.66 with medical benefits and $15.32 without.
2006 LWC is a founding member of the Accountable Development Coalition that successfully lobbies the SMART (Sonoma Marin Area Rapid Transit) board for comprehensive 'community benefits' for a proposed commuter train station in downtown Santa Rosa at Railroad Square. These benefits include a Living Wage for workers employed by SMART contractors, a Project Labor Agreement, Green Building standards, and substantial on-site affordable housing.
2007 LWC supports an organizing drive by bus drivers for Petaluma city contractor MV Transportation, and workers vote for union representation by Amalgamated Transport Workers Local 1575. Workers right to organize a union is protected by labor provisions in the city Living Wage law.
2008 LWC and Marin Interfaith Coalition for Worker Justice lobby Marin County Board of Supervisors to amend the Marin Living Wage Ordinance to eliminate the two-tier wage provision for In-Home Support Services workers (home care) represented by SEIU UHW, and to ensure health care coverage and a COLA.
2008 LWC and environmental organizations lead a successful year-long campaign to win approval by the Petaluma City Council for Community Impact Report (CIR) legislation for large commercial development. The CIR requires that a developer pay for a study to assess the fiscal and economic benefits and costs of a proposed project.
2009 LWC organizes a countywide coalition to oppose a proposed Wal-Mart supercenter in Rohnert Park. The anti-super center coalition turns out hundreds to oppose the project at the planning commission and city council meetings in 2010, and gathers more than 2500 signatures of residents who oppose the super center. The City Council approves the project but a successful CEQA lawsuit by the Sierra Club and Sonoma County Conservation Action (both coalition members) stops the project from moving forward in 2011.
2010 LWC leaders participate in a ‘Free and Fair Election Commission’ to monitor a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital. 600 workers at Memorial vote to affiliate with the National Union of Health Care workers (NUHW). Over the previous five years, the LWC collaborated with SEIU UHW and NUHW to build a community support network for the Memorial organizing campaign.
2011 LWC joins with North Bay Labor Council, the Sonoma County Democratic Party, MoveOn and SEIU Local 1021 to organize demonstrations in downtown Santa Rosa in March and April to oppose attacks on public sector workers in Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan and elsewhere.
2011 LWC is a founding member of the North Bay Organizing Project (NBOP), a multiracial faith and community-based organization affiliated with the Gamaliel Foundation.
2012 LWC leads signature-gathering drive in the North Bay in May and launches a campaign to win voter approval for Proposition 30, a ballot initiative to tax the wealthy to pay for public services and education. The campaign includes collecting 1000 signatures for the ballot measure, organizing educational forums and rallies, and registering and mobilizing voters, particularly among youth and students and in low-income and minority communities.
2012 LWC joins with UNITE HERE 2850 to organize several large demonstrations in July, August, and November to support the contract campaign by the union and workers at the Petaluma Sheraton. The union signs an excellent second contract in 2013. LWC members also participate in several one-day strikes by the California Nurses Association and the National Union of Health Care workers at Kaiser and Petaluma Valley Hospital, and two four-day walkouts by the Staff Nurses Association at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital.
2013 LWC and the NBOP publish a report on inequality and working poverty “The State of Working Sonoma 2013” and cosponsor a ‘People’s Equity Summit’ attended by 150 in April.
2013 North Bay Jobs with Justice (NBJwJ) founded by eleven unions and six immigrant rights, peace and social justice, civil rights, and community-based organizations; and six more organizations join over the next three years. By 2015 NBJwJ collects 150 “I’ll Be There” pledges from members of affiliated organizations who commit to turning out to a Jobs with Justice action five times a year.
2013 Wal-Mart submits a revised EIR for the super center to the City of Rohnert Park. NBJwJ wins several procedural challenges and consideration of the revised EIR is delayed until August 2014. The Rohnert Park City Council approves the project but community allies affiliated with the anti-super center coalition in 2015 file a second lawsuit based upon possible violations of the city’s general plan. The lawsuit is pending, and Wal-Mart is yet to break ground for the super center.
2013-2015 In 2013 NBJwJ convenes another Living Wage Coalition that includes North Bay Jobs with Justice, North Bay Labor Council, North Bay Organizing Project, Sierra Club, Sonoma County Conservation Action, Sonoma County Democratic Party and Organizing for Action Sonoma County. After four quarterly public forums that were attended by more than two-dozen labor, faith, environmental, nonprofit, and community organizations, the coalition formally proposes a Living Wage Ordinance to the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors in September 2014.
Over the next year the coalition and community allies initiate a campaign to win approval for a county Living Wage law that includes extensive public education, base building, mass actions, signature gathering, lobbying individual board members and turning out hundreds to several Board of Supervisors' meetings. In December 2015, the board approves a version of the proposed legislation that will raise the wages of 1,100 employees of the county and large county contractors to $15/hr. Workers at the county landfill, landscapers, security guards, janitors, mental health care workers, and park aides will benefit. The law passed by the board was a limited step forward compared to the comprehensive living-wage legislation implemented by Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and San Francisco counties and cities such as Sebastopol, Sonoma and Petaluma. The coalition continues to lobby the board to broaden and strengthen the legislation.
2014-2015 NBJwJ organizes a community coalition to support the UNITE HERE 2850 campaign at the Graton Rancheria casino in Rohnert Park to unionize 1000 casino and restaurant workers. In June 2014, 600 casino workers sign cards to indicate their preference for union representation and the NLRB certifies the election. After a year of negotiations in October 2015 workers approve the first contract in October 2015. Workers at the two largest restaurants later vote to join the union and contract negotiations are ongoing. Ultimately UNITE HERE anticipates that all 400 workers in the 12 restaurants will join the union--as will 200 more workers when a hotel currently under construction is completed
2014 NBJwJ establishes the North Bay Workers’ Rights Board comprised of community leaders who investigate complaints and sponsor public hearings where workers can provide testimony about violation of workers’ legal and human rights at a specific workplace.
2014-2015 The Workers’ Rights Board sponsors hearings for Petaluma teachers, In-Home Supportive Services (home care) workers employed by the county, and healthcare workers at Santa Rosa Memorial and Petaluma Valley Hospitals. The union for each group of workers is unable to reach a contract agreement with the employer. Seventy-five to 100 workers and community supporters attend each hearing. The Workers’ Rights Board publishes a report after each hearing that includes the transcripts of worker and expert testimony and the board’s findings and recommendations. Board members also publish Op-Eds to convey their recommendations to the public and meet with employers to resolve worker complaints and grievances.
2015-2016 NBJwJ and the Living Wage Coalition collect hundreds of signatures for two ballot propositions for the November 2016 general election to raise the state minimum wage to $15/hr. One proposition qualifies for the ballot in January 2016, and another that would raise the state minimum to $15/hr. by 2020 and included six paid sick days would have also qualified. However, both ballot measures are set aside when Governor Jerry Brown and the state legislature approved a $15/hr. minimum wage law in April 2016 that will be phased in by 2022 and includes an annual COLA after reaching $15/hr.
2015-2016 More than 5000 home care workers who provide personal and healthcare services for the County of Sonoma to low-income clients were excluded from the County’s Living Wage Ordinance. However, in March of 2016, SEIU 2015 that represents these workers, signs the best contract ever, boosting wages from $11.65/hr. to $13/hr. by 2017. The advocacy and support for home care workers by Jobs with Justice and the Living Wage Coalition was essential. NBJwJ also provides community support to SEIU 1021 that represents 2200 county employees for their contract campaign, which includes a three-day county worker strike in November 2016. Jobs with Justice members attend Board of Supervisors meetings, walk picket lines, and participate in several mass actions In May 2016 county workers overwhelmingly approve a new contract that includes a 6 percent pay increase over two years and a substantial decrease in out of pocket health care costs for county workers.