Unit 1 is a diverse group of professional classifications who are committed to providing vital state services, taking pride in their work.

Today, the Unit 1 team focused its efforts on stronger language governing our performance reviews (contract section 13.7.1 – Performance Standards). Our goal was to ensure that the State acknowledges that neither duty statements, expectations memos, nor performance standards require error free work.

“We are not machines, and we want to make sure the departments understand that,” said Susan Rodriguez, Unit 1 Chair. “At the worksite level, there has not been a lot of grace surrounding something as simple as a typographical error.”

“Error-free standards slow down productivity, and this is why we have checks and balances to help develop and cultivate employees,” said Beth Bartel of the Unit 1 team.

After our presentation, the State caucused and came back with a flat rejection of our changes, proposing to “roll over” the existing language. Why? The State’s team claimed the language change would diminish their ability to “write employees up” and claimed they weren’t using references to “error-free” in their job communications.

We fought back. Several team members read currently-issued department communications that proved the State wrong, including one expectations memo from DMV that said, in part, “free from typographical errors…”

Shelia Byars, a DMV employee on the Unit 1 team said, “We would like to understand how that is possible. As someone that has been writing hearing decisions for years, I do my best, but I don’t know how I can guarantee there will be no typos.  This has never been in an expectations memo before.”

Myriad examples of the State’s frustrating behavior surfaced; team member Karen Devoll shared instances where CCRAs precisely followed department orders in calculating release dates, then were written up for errors those instructions caused. “I take pride in what I do,” said Karen. “I’m also a human being, not a machine.”

We will continue to demand that the State Respect Us!

Today’s other key bargaining theme was the State’s continued lack of response to our proposals. While Unit 1 continues the effort to advance our represented employees, the State’s lead negotiator says he’s “not authorized” and “doesn’t have the direction to move forward.” Still, the June 30 deadline looms large, and Unit 1 Chair Susan Rodriguez continues to press the State for responses to 20 unanswered proposals.

“Unit 1 comes to the table prepared to bargain in a professional and productive manner, and we are deeply disappointed by the State’s response,” said Joyce Wheeler Owens of Unit 1’s team.

We did reach agreement on three earlier proposals, all rollovers of previous contract wins:

  • 12.16.1 – Aviation Safety Officer (Unit 1)
  • 12.24.1 – Extended Travel, Department of Insurance (Unit 1)
  • 13.10.1 – Education and Training (Unit 1)

Unit 1 returns to the table next week, on Tuesday, May 30. To see updates on other bargaining sessions, please visit the Contract Action Center page at seiu1000.org

There’s real truth to the Local 1000 slogan, Stronger Together. We only win a great contract with a strong Local 1000 membership. So, if you’re not already a member, we encourage you to join us today.

And be sure to save your spot for the upcoming June 8 March to the Governor’s mansion here.