As Unit 17 returned to the table once again to negotiate with the State, our bargaining team is fighting to make nurses’ needs a priority. We have addressed the issues that our members have identified to get a contract that ensures the State respects us, protects us, and pays us.

The State offered a counterproposal for the following contract section:

  • 8.26.17 Department of Veterans Affairs Vacation Scheduling (Unit 17) – The State offered a counter with some additional language which the team will review prior to offering a counter.

Additionally, the Unit 17 team reached a tentative agreement with the State regarding the following rollover sections:

  • 19.7.17 Report Preparation Time (Unit 17)
  • 16.7.17 Continuation of Benefits (Unit 17)

Unit 17 offered the following proposals to the State today:

  • 8.28.17 Paid Education Leave (Unit 17) – rollover language
  • 12.21.17 Nurse Practitioner Furnishing Number Renewal Fees (Unit 17) – new language

Unit 17 presented two proposals today that were financial in nature, which specifically address direct payment for Nurse Practitioners (NP) furnishing number renewal, and paid education leave.

While we reached tentative agreements on two rollover sections today, this does not represent real progress at the table.

 “The State is not taking our proposals seriously, and this shows when they come to the table unprepared to discuss the contract issues vital to our members,” said Vanessa Seastrong, Unit 17 Chair.

Bargaining requires a dialog at the table. When the State fails to address the sections sent by the bargaining team, this prevents dialog from being possible. While the team received one counterproposal today, on DVA Vacation Scheduling, this does not represent significant movement at the table.

“We feel disappointed and disrespected when we provide an enormous amount of material for them to work with and consistently receive very little in return,” said team member Shelia Coonan.

Likewise, the two article sections TA’ed at the table today are a fraction of what would be expected this late into the bargaining cycle, with as much material as the State has been sent for consideration already.

“We have already submitted 90% of the articles we want to discuss at the table,” said Bob Mutebi, BU 17 Alternate Vice Chair. “We want them to respect our member’s needs and, at minimum, move these articles along. Things cannot continue at a snail’s pace.”

“With only three bargaining sessions remaining, time is of the essence. The bargaining team is concerned that further delay will prevent us from finishing all the work required by June 30th. They think that these article sections can be handed to us all at once to be taken or left at the table,” said Shelia Coonan, Unit 17 bargaining team member. This doesn’t allow for serious, substantive discussion of our nurses’ issues.

“Even though California claims to be a progressive state, the Unit 17 team is not observing this at the negotiating table due to the very minimal response from the State team to our proposals. This lack of response seriously affects the work/life balance of our members,” said Vice Chair Mary Naidoo. The current pace of negotiations is not sustainable for our nurses.

Unit 17 returns to the table next week, on Tuesday, June 13. 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.