The Bargaining Unit 15 Negotiating Committee returned to the bargaining table on Monday, May 8, 2023, to demand the State of California respect, protect, and pay our allied service workers.

The debate was lively—and productive—as the team proposed and reached Tentative Agreement (TA) on several items and presented several additional important proposals to the State. The TAs included:

  • Article 10.9.15 – Safety Equipment and Safety Glasses/Goggles (Unit 15)
  • Article 21.26.15 – Custodial Routes (Unit 15)

The Tentative Agreement on Article 10.9.15 in particular represents a huge win for our 4,500+ SEIU Local 1000 civil service custodians, laundry workers, supervising cooks, and food service workers in California prisons and other state institutions.

The team was able to “rollover” the language with the stipulation that BU 15 employees can ask for additional safety equipment such as freezer gear coats. This means the higher authorities are recognizing that these are reasonable requests, and they will respond to them in a timely manner. Plus, if our Unit 15 workers are at a facility that holds safety meetings, our workers can address the issue directly with the Labor Relations Advocate (LRA) on site.

BU 15 Chair Eric Murray and the team also proposed new language for Article 21.26.15 that covered Section B. The State responded that when feasible, in the event of unanticipated staff shortages where staff are covering shortages in addition to those normally assigned, departments may initiate a modified cleaning program. “When feasible” is critically important because up to this point, the State has been utilizing our custodians to cover multiple routes, and now this new language opens up overtime to cover the routes or it becomes a modified route to cover minimal needs. This will relieve a significant burden for the worker in question.

Unit 15 made three additional proposals to the State, including:

  • Article 19.14.15 – Overtime Distribution for Employees (CDCR – Adult Programs) (Unit 15)
  • Article XX.XX.XX In Service Training Overtime (Unit 15)
  • Article 10.25.15 – Infectious Disease Control (Unit 15)
  • Article 11.16.15 – Cooks Classification (Unit 15) – rollover agreement proposal
  • Article 13.19.15 – State-Required Training (Unit 15) – rollover agreement proposal

“19.14.15 is an example of the important language we are implementing for our CSC’s working in the correction environment,” said Garth Underwood, BU 15 Vice Chair and a CDCR Correctional Supervising Cook at Ironwood State Prison. “It always has and always will be an issue. This proposal will correctly address a majority of the correction issues for our supervising cooks, and it shows that seniority matters.”

While fairly simple, 19.14.15 includes important clarifying language, including but not limited to the following changes:

  • In Section A, we remove “will endeavor to” and replace with “shall” reduce the amount of mandatory overtime.
  • In Section B, we recommend replacing “will” with “shall” be considered.
  • In Section C, we clarify and define the beginning and end of an employee’s RDO.
  • In Section D, we again remove “will” and replace with “shall” be required. We are moving two (2) “double” replacing with overtime shifts of any length within the employee’s scheduled workweek. No changes to Sections E, F, or G.
  • In Section H, we remove “will endeavor to” and replace with “shall” afford overtime…

You can read further details of these and all current contract articles at

XX.XX.XX IST Overtime is a completely new concept for BU 15 that has been used by other units working within the California Department of Corrections (CDCR). As is generally acknowledged, Unit 15 classifications that work and attend IST in CDCR institutions post and bid for their spots. This process guarantees the employee their RDOs, shifts, and yard they work on. However, some management teams randomly remove their employees from their shifts and adjust employee RDOs to ensure IST attendance. While employee training may be conducted during regular work hours or during the employee’s off-duty hours, we strongly believe employees should be compensated for their time, and no adjustments should be made unless the employee is requesting this change.

The team made an additional proposal for overtime checks that was rejected. The reason given by the State is as follows:

Due to the fact that we are transitioning to bi-weekly pay, the State does not want to add contract language that references the new system and thus potentially affects our overtime language. Per the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), there is no requirement that an overtime check has to be delivered by the 15th of the month. However, the California State Payroll (CSP) system will strive to do so.

Unit 15’s next meeting with the State to win a contract that Respects Us, Protects Us, and Pays Us is set for May 15. On Tuesday, May 9, bargaining units 1, 3, 4, 14, and 17 will return to the table. Master table negotiations resume on Wednesday, May 10.

To read about what happened in Monday’s Bargaining Unit 11, 20, and 21 sessions, please visit the Contract Action Center page at

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.