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Find answers to frequently asked questions regarding your rights as a member, steward, or worker. You can contact a Local’s office at (805) 963-0601 or any staff member at their e-mail address (see staff’s information).


What is Local 620?

Local 620, of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), is a
labor union representing more than 3,700 public employees in Santa
Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties in California, is an affiliate of
the international union in Washington, D.C.

How big is SEIU and what kinds of workers do we represent?

The Service Employees International Union is the largest, fastest
growing union in the country, with 2 million members. We represent
health care workers, public sector, building services—such as janitors
and security officers, social service workers, and some industrial
workers. Local 620, known previously as Santa Barbara County Employees
Association, has provided quality representation to public employees
since 1947. Chartered as a a local union of SEIU in 1988, Local 620 is
now the largest and fastest growing union on the Central Coast of

How do I file a grievance?

If you believe the union contract with your employer has been
violated, you have the right to file a grievance. Contact the union
steward at your worksite and he/she will assist you. Provide the
documents and other information your steward will need to argue your
case. Working together is the best way to insure success. If you don’t
know who your steward is, contact (805) 963-0601.

Where did my union contract come from?

In most workplaces, a bargaining team made up of union members and
Local 620 staff (usually the Field Representative who works in that
area) develops proposals from surveys sent to members in the bargaining
unit. That union bargaining team negotiates the best tentative agreement
with management it can, and then brings that agreement to members at a
ratification meeting. There the members vote on it. Once the contract is
in place, union stewards—volunteer worksite leaders—help enforce it
through one-on-one conversations with supervisors, labor management
meetings and the grievance procedure. If you’d like to learn more,
contact your steward. If you don’t know who your steward is, check the
Stewards section of this website for your worksite leaders and field
representative, or call the office for assistance, (805) 963-0601.

How do I get a copy of my contract?

Call (805) 963-0601 x 12, the union office in Santa Barbara or e-mail Elena
Helman, Administrative Assistant, will be happy to assist you in
obtaining a copy of your contract.

What is arbitration?

Arbitration is the last step in the grievance procedure. By its very
existence in a union contract it often allows union leaders to negotiate
effective settlements to grievances before reaching that step. If the
union and management are unable to reach a settlement on a case, the
union has the option of taking it to arbitration. An arbitrator is
similar to a judge. Both sides usually share the costs of this service
equally. He/she is someone that both sides agreed upon to decide the
matter. Both sides present their cases, and the arbitrator rules on what
is right or wrong. Arbitration can be a lengthy process, and can set
precedent that the losing side may not want used against them in the
future. For those reasons and others, both sides are often encouraged to
settle if they can find a middle ground.

Does the union provide any training and education for union members?

SEIU Local 620 focuses its training and education efforts on union
members who have stepped up to become stewards. A well-trained worksite
leader can influence many union members, and have a greater impact on
many lives at once. Contact (805) 963-0601 or your
field representative.

Does the union provide scholarships for regular union members?

Yes. SEIU has a number of scholarships available to union members and
their families. Applications are usually available in the fall and the
deadline is in the spring. Contact SEIU in Washington D.C.
, check out our

page, or call our Local (805) 963-0601.

What other benefits do I get by being a member of SEIU beside my union contract?

SEIU offers discounts on vacation, legal fees, and other benefits
through its Edge Benefits program. Contact Edge for more information –
or call our office (805) 963-0601.

Local 620 also offers various types of supplemental insurance
services to working families. Many insurance plans are not available to
the general public and/or are discounted steeply for Local 620 members.
Check out our

page for more information.

Local 620 has negotiated the ability for members to pay these plans
through the union’s trust fund using your employers payroll deductions,
which many members find more convenient than annual or quarterly

Some examples of insurance offered to Local 620 members include:
Automobile and casualty insurance through California Casualty;

Can I get a free lawyer from the union?

The union’s legal resources go into defending union members at
arbitration, providing legal advice to union representative and stewards
who are enforcing contract, negotiating, organizing, and protecting the
overall local against charges by employers. The union does not have the
resources to provide free legal services to individual members. We will
refer you to attorneys we trust if you have a legal problem, but that is
only a reference, not a guarantee.