Frustration reigned at today’s Unit 1 bargaining table.

One of Local 1000’s long-fought battles to improve our service to California through EDD—a battle lasting more than 15 years—was again rejected by State negotiators. Contract section 13.15.1 was yet another effort to change and improve the UI determination schedule.

After more than a decade of discussion, education, conversation, and relationship building, the State once again refused to consider any changes. The State’s reply indicated the program is too complicated to change and with current projects in place it would have an upstream impact.

Meanwhile, a post-pandemic backlog remains. Claims responses are taking from 20-40 days, when the system should be providing an answer in 7-10 days.

“I was hopeful that both EDD and the state could recognize that it’s not the best fit and to hear that EDD has other priorities and this [the people we serve] is not the priority,” said Unit 1 Chair Susan Rodriguez.

“I’m very disappointed that after so many years EDD doesn’t want to reflect and consider changes. EDD staff will be extremely disappointed. We have proposed reasonable improvements to management that they won’t consider because of their  own priorities,” added Joyce Wheeler-Owens of the bargaining team. “EDD is ignoring the need to allot sufficient time to provide quality service to EDD clients.”

Unit 1 also proposed a new section that reflects the professional and FLSA-exempt status of its represented employees. It’s an effort to improve the working conditions we faced and to ensure the opportunity for a reasonable work-life balance.

Unit 1 team member Vincent Green works in IT at DVA. “We understand work has to be done and sometimes it will be long hours. When the state shut down, it was people like me who were told ‘we need to have everyone work from home; servers have to be accessed’. Fast forward 3 years people are now coming in 1-2 days a week, so now more work needs to be done. We understand operational needs. But what is a pain point for us is we cannot have work-life balance.”

Our Unit 1 team continues to press the State to advance the workers we represent, but a lack of response to our proposals (now a total of 22) is an ongoing theme. “The State’s not demonstrating interest in our efforts, and they’re not acting like they’re interested in becoming a better employer,” added Green.

You can read the details of these and all current contract articles at contract.seiu1000.org

Unit 1’s next meeting with the State to win a contract that Respects Us, Protects Us, and Pays Us is set for June 6. To read about what happened in our 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.