Contribute to the COPE Fund

Invest in quality education, good jobs, a better future. Contribute to the SEIU Local 99 COPE Fund.

What is COPE?

Public education is funded by local, state and federal governments. That means as employees in public education, the work we do is directly affected by policy decisions.

The school board members we elect vote on our contracts. State leaders decide on the education budget and how much money goes to local school districts and agencies. Federal officials decide on funding for school transportation, special education, lunch programs, child care services, Head Start, and so much more.

That’s why having a strong voice in politics is critical to our jobs, and the well-being of our communities. In addition to voting and mobilizing others to vote, we make our voices heard in politics by contributing to SEIU Local 99’s voluntary Committee on Political Education Fund (COPE).

COPE gives our union the resources to move voters and decision-makers in office in order to help us all move forward.

SEIU Local 99 members’ contributions to the COPE Fund give us a stronger voice in politics to improve our jobs, public education and our communities. Here’s how:

Pooling Our Resources

The COPE fund allows us to pool our money together to make politics work for us. Corporations and wealthy donors pour millions of dollars into elections and campaigns to benefit their profits. Through the COPE fund, working people like us have a strong voice to advocate for candidates, laws and policies that support workers, our families and our communities.

Choosing Who & What to Support

Every election, members decide what ballot measures and which candidates to support. Union members have input and interview candidates seeking our endorsement on issues that impact our jobs, education, health care and other issues impacting our communities. Subscribe to our emails to know when we have endorsement townhalls for members.

Electing Allies & Passing Policy

After endorsements are made, members on our SEIU Local 99 Executive Board must approve donations to a campaign. In a campaign, our COPE contributions are used for things like voter outreach, radio, TV and social media ads, mailers and other efforts.

Improving Jobs, Schools and Communities

When the candidates we support win or a measure or policy we supported passes, we win. It can mean school board members voting for improving wages and staffing levels, voters supporting a proposition that increases funding for public education or legislators passing a law that expands worker rights.

What We’ve Won With COPE

Pictured: SEIU Local 99 members in their last “Midnight Ride” to lobby for a summer relief solution in 2018 before then-Gov Brown included a Summer Relief Fund for school workers in the 2018-2019 State Budget.

Summer Bridge Fund for School Workers

After seven long years of work, we won legislation and secured funding in the state budget for the Classified Employees Summer Bridge Fund. Our COPE Fund paid for the many “Midnight Ride” trips—overnight bus trips to Sacramento—hundreds of members braved to talk with legislators about our struggles and gain their support for summer relief bills we’ve pushed through those years. The Summer Bridge Fund provides a safety-net for school workers during the summer when no work is available. It allows workers to contribute to the fund during the school year and the state matches their contributions. Workers receive all the funds during the summer break. Learn more at

Check out pictures of past Midnight Ride lobby trips: 2011 | 2012 | 5/2013 | 8/2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018

Pictured: Child care providers from all over California gathered in Sacramento on Feb. 5, 2020 to march in celebration to the Public Employment Relations Board office to file for their union election.

Quality Child Care for All and a Voice for Providers

Through COPE contributions and political action, family child care providers won a law that allows them to negotiate a contract with the State of California. This means a stronger voice to advocate for wage increases, safer working conditions and increased child care openings so more families can access quality, affordable child care.

Pictured: SEIU Local 99 members with LAUSD Board Member George McKenna who visited our office seeking an endorsement from members.

Wage Increases, Better Benefits, Pandemic Relief and More

COPE is instrumental in electing school board members who understand the vital role of school workers. School board members have voted to ratify our contracts with wage increases, training opportunities and more funding for school cleanliness. When COVID-19 hit, union members’ strong political voice helped secure state and federal funding for PPE, hero pay and continued benefits during the school shutdowns. Ongoing pandemic relief, recovery and a safe return to schools will require our continued advocacy.

Click or tap the photos to see a brief photo timeline with captions.

Restoring and Increasing Funding for Our Jobs and Education

SEIU Local 99’s members’ COPE contributions and activism were instrumental in helping to lessen the impact to education and our jobs during the 2008-2009 Great Recession, which saw massive statewide budget cuts for public education. Then in 2012, members rose up to pass Proposition 30 and Proposition 55 in 2016, which restored funding, stopped the cuts and ended the hurtful furlough days. Click or tap the photos to see a brief photo timeline from 2008 to 2016.