On Wednesday June 8th, our central table bargaining team reached an agreement with the state that moves the implementation date of our next 3.1% cost-of-living salary increase (COLA) to August 1, 2022. It also allows the state to offer hiring bonuses for hard-to-fill positions. Under the current contract, we were set to receive a 3.1% COLA on December 1, 2022—because of this new agreement, we will be getting those raises four months earlier.
We agreed to this because soaring costs have created an an urgent need to get money into members’ pockets now. We also made it very clear to the state that this will not be enough to fix the issues with retention and recruitment in our agencies, nor does it go nearly far enough to recognize the incredible work members of SEIU 503 have done over the last two years. And of course, moving our COLA up by four months does not match the actual rate of inflation or the increase in prices we’re seeing at the grocery store or at the gas pump.
We do believe this was the best deal available immediately in the middle of our contract when we don’t have the right to strike. That will change next year, however, when going on strike will be an option once our contract expires.
Our union’s leverage at the bargaining table comes from the strength of our membership. We must begin preparing now so our union is strike-ready by the time our contract expires in 2023. Keep your eye out for bargaining surveys, which will be sent out in the fall.
A big part of being strike-ready is showing the state that workers are coming together and joining up as full members of our union. You can help build our union’s power to win strong raises by becoming a member today. Click here to join.