Member Leaders Travel to Learn New Ideas about Corrections and Rehabilitation

Article published on august 26

Five statewide leaders from SEIU Local 1000 are traveling to Norway for an exchange of ideas about correctional and rehabilitation practices in Norway, a country renowned worldwide for its forward-thinking approach to the management of its prisons and inmates.

The goal: to better equip our union employees to deal with reforms we will likely see here in California and to give us a seat at the reform table so we can shape proposals that affect our workers. Our delegation includes: Irene Green, VP for Bargaining; Anica Walls, VP for Organizing / Representation; Unit 20 Bargaining Chair Melissa Vartanian; Unit 17 Vice Chair Mary Naidoo; and Eric Murray, Bargaining Unit 15 Chair.

Why is this important? More than 17,000 of our represented employees work in and around California’s prison system, primarily at CDCR and CCHCS. It’s the largest group of state workers among the nearly 100,000 Local 1000 represents.

Like many other unions across the nation, we have teamed with One Voice United, an organization dedicated to giving union members in correctional institutions a voice in national conversations about corrections and the criminal justice system. It is an organization founded by union members for union members and chaired by Andy Potter, who is also the Chair of the SEIU National Corrections Council.

Our member leaders are joining other SEIU delegations that represent corrections staff from Colorado, Connecticut, New Hampshire and other Corrections unions outside SEIU. There is no cost to SEIU 1000 for our delegation’s participation. The trip is entirely paid for by One Voice United, including hotels, transportation, airfares and all business expenses.

Part of our strategy for protecting these jobs is understanding the best practices in corrections and adapting to prison reforms that are being advanced by the Governor and Legislature. This knowledge helps us more effectively negotiate with the administration and protect our members.