Think SEIU Cares about the Disabled? Think Again.

Physically and mentally disabled workers have been cleaning the California Health Care Facility, a state hospital for prisoners, since 2016. They work for an award-winning nonprofit called PRIDE Industries, which employs thousands of disabled people across the country. PRIDE received a state contract after an audit of the hospital found problems with sanitation and cleanliness.

PRIDE’s janitorial workers have been doing a good job at the hospital — and they saved taxpayers’ money. In addition, they filled jobs that the state has typically struggled to fill and keep filled. Who could possibly have a problem with disabled workers doing a good job at a lower cost? SEIU, that’s who. And why? Because SEIU represents state janitors and wants more dues money. So what did SEIU do? They filed a grievance and threatened to sue the state over the contract.

So Democrat state legislators, who often act like SEIU sock puppets, decided to take away half of the contract positions and make them civil service jobs. Democrats rejected a Republican measure to allow PRIDE to retain all of the jobs. Although displaced employees can apply for the civil service jobs, they may not pass the civil service test or may not be hired. And it seems unlikely that the State of California will be as supportive of disabled workers as PRIDE has been.

Even without SEIU’s troublemaking, disabled people often have difficulty finding work. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, fewer than one out of five disabled people were employed last year. Furthermore, the unemployment rate for the disabled was more than twice as high last year as it was for the non-disabled.

Making matters worse, this hospital is located in Stockton, California, which has struggled in recent years. The city declared bankruptcy just six years ago, and the local unemployment rate stood at 7% as recently as February of this year — much higher than the national average. According to the mayor, half of the jobs in Stockton pay minimum wage, and one-fourth of the population lives in poverty.

It would be one thing if SEIU were complaining about California outsourcing jobs to foreign countries or corrupt or inept companies, but that’s not the case. As it is, it’s absolutely disgraceful that SEIU puts its own financial interests over the interests of the disabled. What’s next for SEIU? Are they going to start harassing kids running lemonade stands for taking work away from restaurant workers? Just how low is too low for this union?

 

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