Sonoma County Unites in Crisis - To Protect Workers During the COVID-19 Pandemic

A coalition spearheaded by Mara Ventura and North Bay Jobs With Justice will fight for a Community Bailout to protect Sonoma County workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. They will be meeting with elected officials to ask for paid sick leave, job protections for laid off workers, protective gear for essential and healthcare workers, and covered medical costs costs for farm workers exposed to illness.

Soco United in Crisis

Just as our fires brought to the surface the vast inequalities in Sonoma County, so too has the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather than corporate bailouts and commitments to simply not evict families ‘‘for now,” we need a real community bailout.

One in five Sonoma County residents are living in poverty (1) and hundreds of thousands are now out of work. Members of our community need to know they will not lose work permanently, only to come out of this pandemic owing thousands of dollars to landlords and banks.

A 2019 report found 40% of Americans would not be able to respond to a $400 unexpected expense without some kind of help(2). This agenda was created in unity by those very community members and leaders from across our County. The stakes are the highest they’ve ever been. We may be in this pandemic for months.

We call on our local governments to step up to their responsibility of caring for the whole community and prioritize these policies. If we do this right, we will not just survive but thrive. Our communities cannot wait. Every day bold action is not taken is another day families, tenants, seniors, immigrants, workers, and our unhoused community struggle to survive.

Sources: 1.


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SoCo United In Crisis Members:

North Bay Jobs with Justice

North Bay Labor Council

National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW)

Graton Day Labor Center

Alianza Laboral de Mujeres Activas y Solidarias (ALMAS)

Sonoma County Tenants Union

Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Local 1021

Comité VIDA

Sunrise Movement

We have the right for our basic needs to be met

1. The County provides funds for undocumented workers whose work was impacted by COVID19.

2. The Right to Language Justice: all alerts must be multilingual, in both English and Spanish as well as other languages spoken in the county - including indigenous languages such as Mixteco, Triqui, Chatino. Information must be proactively shared with the unhoused community.

3. Ensure employers do not lay off workers until all means of securing needed funds have been exhausted. Should workers be laid off, ensure employers offer jobs back to those workers in order of seniority when re-hiring.

4. Assure accessible health care for those experiencing actual or possible COVID-19 symptoms and allow laid-off workers to keep their healthcare. Since many companies are receiving emergency taxpayer money, we should ensure all medical costs incurred by “essential” workers who have no access to health insurance be covered by the Employer. This includes farmworkers, domestic workers or undocumented workers.

We have the right to Home

1. By August 1st the Board of Supervisors will comply with state law SB54 to participate in and fund a countywide town hall meeting on issues impacting the immigrant community, including a TRUTH Act report from Sheriff Essick. To ensure language and cultural competency, this will be planned and facilitated by community organizations.

2. A moratorium on all evictions, rent increases, and foreclosures that is extended to at least 6 months after the end of the COVID-19 outbreak. No rent debt accumulated and any tenant relocations will be temporary.

3. Secure and allocate relief funding and rental and mortgage assistance for all who will be impacted economically by this virus.

4. Provide emergency shelter, food and sanitation stations to our homeless population. Cease displacement of homeless encampments. Ensure quarantine options are made available.

We have the right to be safe and protected

2. Assurance from the County of Sonoma that the County Courthouse will abide by the new 2020 state law related to access to ICE agents. Courthouse personnel will receive the relevant training.

3. Enact mandatory Paid Sick Leave for all employees. Waive the 90-day requirement to receive paid sick time. Notice regarding current State paid sick leave requirements will be given to all employees in their preferred language.

4. Frontline “essential workers,” healthcare workers and domestic workers must be provided adequate safety protection including but not limited to N95 masks, gloves, face shields, and gowns. Requesting or using adequate safety protection is not grounds for retaliation. Every attempt should be made to ensure tests are provided when needed.

5. Advocate for the release of all COVID-19 vulnerable persons from ICE detention centers in CA.

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