The Unit 17 team returned to the table this week to continue negotiations with the State’s bargaining team over the critical issues that must be addressed in our next contract as we fight for respect, protection, and pay for all.

With only two more days of regularly scheduled bargaining before our contract expires, there are a number of article sections that are being worked on currently.

In spite of the volume of article sections considered at the table today, this does not solve the longstanding issues Unit 17 has with the State’s proposals during negotiations.

“We have 34 article sections still left open, and only two more bargaining sessions to handle them in,” said Unit 17 Chair Vanessa Seastrong. “We have not had any opportunity to negotiate, discuss new language, or dig into any counterproposals. It feels more like a delaying tactic rather than a negotiation strategy.”

These delays and lack of time to engage in negotiations while at the table has created a backlog of articles that are crucial to our members needs. Our team has highlighted these issues to the State and continues to make these demands central at the table.

“The responses we received from our members at town halls and surveys were clear,” said Alternate Vice Chair Bob Mutebi. “Our members are asking to receive their pay in a timely manner, to get rid of reimbursement, and to receive direct pay for the work they do. The State has rejected two of our proposals (direct payment of license renewal and NP furnishing renewal fees), which we feel is disrespectful to our members. Their bureaucracy has failed to address these needs already, and this failed system should not be preserved by the State.”

In addition to language surrounding reimbursement, member concerns on how the State will handle pandemic recovery are not being addressed. “When they reject articles that would compensate Unit 17 members for working during the pandemic,” said Alternate Vice Chair Bob Mutebi., “it’s hard for us to see how we are being respected at the table or in the workplace.”

“The State showed us complete disregard and disrespect with reference to the article on safety orientation. They did not seem to be concerned about the safety of nurses, patients, or staff,” said Vice Chair Mary Naidoo”.

“Every nurse who walks into a workplace should be oriented into their new position,” said Seastrong. “For them to reject this outright shows they’re waiting for a catastrophic issue or a lawsuit before they make the changes that keep us safe,” said Sheila Coonan.

These issues are not just concerns to our members, but to the communities they serve and the state itself, which is still dealing with the ongoing vacancy crisis caused and exacerbated by these policies.

“What will the State do when these nurses leave? This will make our vacancy rates even worse and degrade services even further,” said Seastrong. “Their biggest complaint is that they don’t have enough staff. It’s no wonder they have these problems when they consistently show their unwillingness to negotiate solutions that respect and retain nurses.”

With so little time left before the contract expires, our bargaining teams are holding strong and pushing for the State to step up to its responsibilities, both to our members and the people who depend on them.

“We are running out of time,” said Seastrong. “We’ve received nothing but rollovers and rejections. They want to take more time on the weekend, but they’re not using the allocated time for negotiating a strong contract for our members.”

Below are the article sections referenced in more detail from the bargaining recap above:

Today, the State reached a tentative agreement on the following article sections:

  • 8.24.17 DDS Vacation Scheduling: Three Vacation Period Scheduling Method (Unit 17)
  •  10.37.17 Wellness Programs (Unit 17) – rollover, no language changes
  • 19.26.17 Workweek Correctional Institutions (Unit 17)
  • 20.6.17 Post and Bid Procedure for Vacant Registered Nurse Positions – Veteran’s Homes (Unit 17)
  • 20.8.17 Post and Bid Procedure CDCR/DJJ (Unit 17)

Additionally, Unit 17 made the following proposals to the State today: 

  • 20.6.17 Post and Bid Procedure for Vacant Registered Nurse Positions – Veteran’s Homes (Unit 17) – rollover, no language changes
  • 20.8.17 Post and Bid Procedure CDCR/DJJ (Unit 17) – rollover, no language changes
  • 8.27.17 CDCR – CCHCS Vacation Scheduling – Registered Nurses (Unit 17) – new language to benefit nurses
  • 20.7.17 Post and Bid Procedure for Vacant Positions – DDS & DSH (Unit 17) – new language to benefit nurses
  • 20.9.17 Post and Bid Assignments by Seniority – CDCR (Unit 17) – new language to benefit nurses
  • 10.11.17 Hazardous Materials (Unit 17) – minor language changes to keep up with current state policy
  • 11.6.17 Overtime Checks (Unit 17) – counterproposal to strengthen language
  • 10.37.17 Wellness Programs (Unit 17) – rollover, no language changes
  • 8.26.17 Department of Veterans Affairs Vacation Scheduling (Unit 17) – new language to mirror current department procedure

Finally, the State proposed the following responses to the bargaining team: 

  • 11.6.17 Overtime Checks (Unit 17) – counterproposal to strengthen language – State rejected language changes
  • 13.11.17 Nursing and Upward Mobility Joint Labor Management Committee (Unit 17) – State rejected language changes
  • 8.25.17 DSH Vacation Scheduling (Unit 17) – countered with new language to our rollover language
  • 19.24.17 Floating (Unit 17) – countered with new language to our rollover language
  • 13.24.17 Orientation (Unit 17) – counter with rollover language and rejected new language
  • 19.1.17 Hours of Work (Unit 17) – submitted to SEIU Local 1000 as rollover
  • 10.19.17 Prevention and Management of Assaultive Behavior or Therapeutic Strategies and Interventions Training (Unit 17) – rejected some language changes, accepted some language changes, and added some new language
  • 12.18.17 License Renewal Fees (Unit 17) – submitted to SEIU Local 1000 as rollover
  • 12.21.17 Nurse Practitioner Furnishing Number Renewal Fees (Unit 17) – submitted to SEIU Local 1000 as rollover
  • 11.XX.17 Mental Health and Wellness Stipend 2023 (Unit 17) – State rejected this proposal
  • 12.X.17 Professional Clothing Allowance – State rejected this proposal

Unit 17 returns to the table next week, on Tuesday, June 20. To see updates on other bargaining unit contract 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.

And be sure to save your spot for the upcoming June 22 Rally at the Governor’s Office in Los Angeles here.