On Monday, April 17, Bargaining Unit 15 met with State for the first time in 2023 to lift up the concerns of over 4,500 allied service workers across the state. The inaugural session was led by Bargaining Unit 15 Chair Eric Murray, who opened by making a heartfelt plea to the State concerning the value Unit 15 brings.

“All of our proposals that we will be presenting to you over the next several weeks are very meaningful and important to our membership and my team. Some may seem strange or exotic to your team, but they are very meaningful for our workers.” Murray’s words seemed to resonate well, and the State responded that they will seek to understand our unit issues, will ask for clarification if they don’t understand, and will consider all of the proposals we present.

The session featured two Joint Labor Management Committee (JLMC) Tentative Agreements (TA) that were not rollover language:

  • JLMC TA 5.16.15 applies to custodians and features clean-up language that adds new groups to the negotiating table for the first time, including custodians working for:
    • CA Highway Patrol
    • Employment Development Department
    • CA State Lottery
    • CA Dept. of Education
    • Dept. of Motor Vehicles
    • Dept. of Developmental Services
  • JLMC TA 5.18.15 applies to food service workers. Within our contract, we have two separate languages – one for the California Department of Corrections (CDCR) and one for everyone else. This TA adds the following departments to the latter group:
    • CalVet
    • CA Department of Education
    • CA Conservation Corps
    • CA Highway Patrol
    • Department of Developmental Services
    • Department of State Hospitals
  • This TA is also more inclusive in nature due to the fact that it adds one more representative seat to the non-service food workers

In addition to the Tentative Agreements, several subject matter experts came to the table to tell their stories to the State in person.

Karen Maddox-Long, who works for the Departmental of General Services (DGS) as a custodian within the LA metro area, told a poignant story that left listeners in tears. “The hiring process is so hard, it’s impossible to hire people. That means I end up cross-covering multiple jobs. We’re the backbone of the state. If we didn’t do what we do, the state — you — wouldn’t be sitting in a clean office.”

“My parking costs alone come to $880 a month, which is nearly half of my paycheck,” added Bill Suhar, who works for the DGS in Riverside.

Unit 15’s next meeting with the State to win a contract that Respects Us, Protects Us, and Pays Us is set for April 24. On Tuesday, April 18, Bargaining units 1,3, 4, 14, and 17 will hold their first sessions at the table. Master table negotiations resume on Wednesday, April 19.

To read about what happened in Monday’s Bargaining Unit 11, 20, and 21 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.