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Workers Training Management
Covered California workers discover the power of membership

The Fresno Action Committee, the Joint Labor Management Committee (JLMC) for the Fresno Covered California office, is building a voice for workers to demand respect at that worksite. A recent meeting resulted in management conceding a number of items, including the right of workers to have a coffee and water club, to monitor their cell phones for emergencies and to have ample time to check emails and study.

“It was not a teamwork atmosphere,” says steward Vanessa Watts of the early days at the department. “Now, with the union involved, management is looking for ideas and solutions from workers. We have someone to back us and we know our rights.”

The Fresno Action Committee is currently in discussions with management over issues such as study time, ample training for special projects and making new policies and procedures more streamlined.

Covered California, created in 2012 to implement the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) in the state, brought a lot of new workers into state service. Many of those workers had never had union representation before. Likewise, many of the managers came from the private sector and have never managed a unionized workforce before. Thanks to Local 1000, our new members are learning the collective power available when workers stand together, and managers are learning they must respect that power.

“We will continue to challenge Covered California on the issues that are important to our members,” says Sophia Perkins, chair of Bargaining Unit 4. “They are gradually beginning to understand that they have to deal with SEIU Local 1000.”

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