Teddy Vallejos has a personal stake in reforming America’s contradictory immigration laws.
While Vallejos, am SEIU 1000 Bargaining Unit 1 member, continues working for the Department of General Services in West Sacramento, her husband has been forced to return to his native Mexico where he will likely spend the next 8-10 years waiting for approval to legally join his wife in the United States unless the rules change.
Vallejos, whose husband had been living and working in California without proper documents when they married, says her experience with the immigration system has spurred her activism both in her workplace and on the immigration issue.
may seem like a remake of a bad movie to many voters. Voters have twice rejected other versions of this same effort to cripple the ability of working people to organize. In 1998, then-Gov. Pete Wilson supported Proposition 226, which was defeated when 53 percent of the voters cast “no' ballots. In 2005, then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger called a special election to ram through a series of measures, including Proposition 75. Again, that measure was rejected by 53 percent of voters.
Claudia Gambaro often looks for ways to help fellow state workers, but she never predicted she would become her union's expert in helping them avoid foreclosure. But when the housing crisis hit Gambaro and tens of thousands of state employees, she wanted to help herself and others keep their homes.
Gambaro was able to pair her union, SEIU Local 1000, with Hope Against Hope, a Sacramento non-profit that helps financially challenged home owners, including those who owe more than their houses are worth. Since last fall, SEIU Local 1000 helped Gambaro organize more than a dozen homeowner counseling workshops, reaching more than 1,000 state workers all over California.