SEIU Texas members kick off fair city budget campaign with “Budget 101” workshop


San Antonians from underserved neighborhoods plan to mobilize for a “working families” city budget throughout the Summer.

On Thursday, as part of We’re All in This Together, SEIU Texas members, city workers and their neighbors, kicked off this year’s campaign to make sure San Antonio is a great place to live and work at the “Budget 101” community workshop. Participants learned how their voices can shape the San Antonio budget to reflect the priorities of working families and expand quality services for our most overlooked communities.

This year, community members voted to mobilize for the following budget priorities:

  • Continued investment for streetlights and sidewalks in underserved areas of San Antonio
  • Higher standards for San Antonians who provide essential city services
  • A $15 minimum wage for all city employees, including contract workers

“The city budget should reflect the needs of people who are often ignored,” said Alma Arevalos, an SEIU Texas member. “When we speak up and take action, city leaders have to take us seriously. Our efforts make it possible for ordinary folks to have an extraordinary impact in our city budget.”

Throughout the Summer, We’re All In This Together members and community partners will put the lessons from “Budget 101” into practice by speaking out at City Council meetings and budget community input sessions throughout the city.

“Everyday, I work to provide the city services we all rely on. I’ve gotten to know our neighborhoods very well and there is some great need out there,” said Alfonso Avilez Jr, Equipment operator, transportation and capital improvements (TCI) with the city and SEIU Texas member. “We can make some smart decisions in our budget to ensure those neighborhood needs are met.”

This community approach to budget planning has already proven successful. In their second year mobilizing for a fair budget, campaign partners worked together to win $1 million for residential streetlights on the west side, $33 million for sidewalk maintenance and repairs and reached a minimum living wage of $13 an hour for city employees who provide essential services.

Follow SEIU Texas members and their campaign to make San Antonio work for everyone by searching #SATXTogether on Twitter and Facebook.

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An Open Letter to Business Leaders from Houston’s Faith Community


Rev. Marty Troyer, Rabbi Dan Aaronson, Rev. Kim Orr, Sister Ceil Roeger, Mustafa Carroll & Rev. Lisa Hunt blessing our bargaining committee.

Twenty-five religious leaders have signed and delivered the following letter in support of living wages for Houston janitors:


As faith leaders in the City of Houston, we support the janitors’ struggle to achieve a “living wage”. This struggle is about what kind of a city we want to be – one where you can work with dignity and build a better life for your family, or one where stagnation and poverty grow as only a small percentage of Houstonians have access to the common good needed for a decent human life that is intended for all.

Despite recent slowdowns, Houston remains one of the strongest real estate markets in the country. However, janitors in Houston are paid significantly less than commercial office janitors in most major metropolitan areas. Most Houston janitors are paid an average of $12,155 per year for part-time work. We call on the business leaders of Houston to do their part to keep Houston families out of poverty.

We are standing up for fair pay and benefits for ALL working people. We’re calling on business leaders to do their part by creating good jobs, raising wages and providing affordable health care to their employees. Together we can restore balance to our economy and create opportunity for future generations.

Signed by:

  • Most Reverend Joseph Fiorenza, Archbishop Emeritus, Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston
  • Reverend William Lawson, William A. Lawson Institute for Peace and Prosperity
  • Rabbi Samuel Karff
  • Bishop Michael Rinehart, Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
  • Deacon Sam Dunning, Office of Justice and Peace, Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston
  • Reverend Glynden Bode, United Methodist Church
  • Reverend Lisa Hunt, St. Stephens Episcopal Church
  • Reverend Marty Troyer, Houston Mennonite Church
  • Rabbi Steven Gross,  Houston Congregation for Reform Judaism
  • Reverend Jonathan Page, First Congregational Church of Houston
  • Sister Ceil Roeger, Dominican Sisters of Houston
  • Mustafaa Carroll, Council on American Islamic Relations
  • Reverend John Fields, First Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church
  • Rabbi Daniel Aronson, Congregation Or Ami
  • Reverend Helen DeLeon, Webster Presbyterian Church
  • Father Albert Zanatta, Assumption Parish, Houston
  • Sister Margaret Bulmer, Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word
  • Father Richard Wahl, Basilian Fathers
  • Reverend James Caldwell, Coalition of Community Organizations
  • Rabbi Dan Gordon, Temple Beth Torah
  • Reverend Hannah Atkins, Trinity Episcopal Church
  • DeWayne Lark,  Visions Fellowship Church
  • Reverend Ronnie Lister,  International Center for Spiritual and Social Activism
  • Father Gerry Kelly, Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers
  • Bishop Myokei Caine-Barrett Shonin, Nichiren Buddhist Sangha of Texas
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