CalPERS Workers Organizing for Power to Ensure a Safe Workplace

Article Published on July 15, 2022

Faced with another dangerous spike in COVID infections in the community and the workplace, combined with insensitive and unresponsive management, hundreds of workers at CalPERS recently used their collective strength to press for a healthier and safer workplace.

In March, CalPERS’ Sacramento workers returned to the office for three days each week, working from home the other two days. Since then, management has not broadly communicated workplace exposures and infections, placing employees—and their family and friends—at risk of illness.

Led by DLC 781 President Hoang-Van Nguyen, nearly 50% of represented employees are standing up and participating in collective action in a variety of ways. What’s more, new leaders and activists are emerging and helping to build power in their workplace. An article in the SacBee “State Worker” column highlighted the issue and the resistance efforts underway.

“We are becoming a stronger union at CalPERS, and we want all represented workers to know that Local 1000 is the people in the cubicle next to you, down the hall, and on the other floors,” said President Nguyen.

Among the concerted efforts DLC 781 has expended in a few short months: a comprehensive employee survey; an emergency telework petition—with over 500 signatures—delivered to management in a “march on the boss;” and public comments at two CalPERS board events.

In addition, two Joint Labor Management Committee meetings have been held, yet throughout all these efforts, CalPERS decision makers haven’t showed up, and management hasn’t budged in their efforts to keep employees reasonably safe.

“We will continue to escalate our actions and to apply the remedies available to us through the hard-earned rights we have in our contract,” said Nguyen. “This is an affront to the core union values of health and safety, and it will not stand.”