Astrid Zuniga

Astrid Zuniga with her son.

Astrid with her son Manny in 2013

I am a devoted mother and grandmother with five children and 10 grandchildren. I was born in Minot, North Dakota and lived on the Vandenberg Air Force Base near Pismo Beach as a small child. I now live in Modesto, CA, and have spent the majority of my life—since I was seven-years-old—in Stanislaus County. I love spending time with my family and am an avid photographer, cook, dancer, and music lover. Prior to becoming a care provider, I was a stay-at-home mom, medical transcription student, and a life insurance sales agent.

I provide in-home care for my son 21-year-old son Manuel, who has autism, Intellectual disabilities, and epilepsy. The IHSS program is vital to our communities and our most vulnerable residents. It is thanks to IHSS that I am able to provide my son the loving and nurturing care he needs and deserves. Every day I’m thankful that he is not in institutional care—and I intend to keep it that way.

I got active in our union in 2008 and hit the ground running, attending several conferences and conventions as a delegate, phone banking, attending rallies, and precinct walking. Before I was elected Vice President, I served as the Stanislaus County District Chair. And I’m active in politics and labor locally and nationally: I serve as the Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Stanislaus & Tuolumne Counties Central Labor Council, an elected delegate and Labor Caucus Treasurer to the California Democratic Party, and I helped create the AFSCME Women’s Leadership Academy.

Astrid and Manny hand-in-hand on their way to testify at the Capitol, 2019

But some of my proudest moments since becoming a UDW activist have been championing Senate Bills 11 and 29, which were signed into law by Governor Brown in 2015. The bills mandate training for law enforcement officers to give them skills to safely interact with people with mental illness, intellectual disabilities, and substance abuse disorders. In 2019, we passed the Manny Alert Act, named after my son, to create a voluntary Smart 911 system for Californians to proactively provide vital health information to first responders prior to an emergency. I also championed SB 1330 (to expand Be On the Look Out alerts to people with disabilities) and SR 64 (dedicating the month of September to Silver Alert Community Education). These laws are my way of keeping our clients and loved ones safer in our communities.

I strongly believe that it is vital for all members to get as involved as they can in our union, because our livelihoods—and our clients’ lives—are at stake. United we stand, divided we fall: we can only make positive change if we are in this together!


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