Union’s rights upheld at PERB


Local 1000 activists at Pelican Bay prevail in unfair labor practices claim

After enduring months of intimidation and ridicule by management in an effort to quash their protected union activity, in October two Local 1000 stewards prevailed on their complaint of an unfair labor practice against the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.  

Karen Smith Sayer and Sue D’Errico, stewards at Pelican Bay State Prison, filed the charge in August at the Public Employee Relations Board (PERB), asserting that the California Correctional Health Care Services division of CDCR had interfered through intimidation and harassment with the rights of Local 1000 members to organize and to be represented by their union. Given the strength of the stewards’ claims, CCHCS agreed to settle the case and ordered the managers named in the complaint to “cease and desist” from “interfering with SEIU’s rights under the Dills Act.” 
“Management can’t be allowed to interfere with our stewards and activists engaging in union activity. It’s not right. It’s against the law and we will fight it every time,” said Yvonne R. Walker, SEIU Local 1000 President. 

A victory for all union activists

Local 1000 stewards and member activists at CCHCS in Pelican Bay State Prison have had a rocky relationship with management since last year. Union leaders were being accused of turning rank-and-file employees against management and of mishandling grievances. 

Management attempted to use insults and ridicule to intimidate Local 1000 stewards into backing off of union activities and to discourage stewards from communicating with rank-and-file workers. The PERB settlement required CCHCS to acknowledge that it had violated California law by “engaging in actions at Pelican Bay State Prison that interfered with employees’ and SEIU’s exercise of rights protected under the Dills Act.”  
Karen Smith Sayer, a Public Health Nurse II and Local 1000 steward believes this victory reaches far beyond Pelican Bay. “Activists often pay a price for representing their union [which is] a violation of our rights. This win should encourage others to stand up and fight against management abuse. If we can win it, they can win it too,” said Smith Sayer.