The State returned to the table with SEIU Local 1000 on Tuesday, June 27th to negotiate the contract that will impact the lives of nurses across California. Once again, the State’s bargaining team has failed to either negotiate or appreciate the work done by the nurses who have kept California running for the last 3 years.

The State returned the following proposals to the SEIU Local 1000 bargaining team:

  • 8.28.17 Paid Education Leave (Unit 17) – the state proposed new language specific to asking employees to provide proof of dates of attendance for continuing education upon completion of licensure coursework
  • 8.29.17 Non-Paid Educational or Research Leave (Unit 17) – the state proposed rollover
  • 10.5.17 Safety Orientation (Unit 17) – the state proposed rollover
  • 11.3.17 Salary Definition (Unit 17) – the state proposed updated language that the team will look into further with the Research Dept. before responding with a counteroffer.
  • 19.8.17 Flexible Work Hours and Alternate Work Schedules (Unit 17) – the state proposed rollover
  • 19.18.17 Rescinding Approved Time Off (Unit 17) – the state proposed rollover

In response, we returned the following to the State:

  • 20.7.17 Post and Bid Procedure for Vacant Positions – DDS & DSH (Unit 17) – SEIU proposed new language for a 100% Post & Bid process for Unit 17 employees to give them greater power and opportunity in their schedules
  • 20.9.17 Post and Bid Assignments by Seniority – CDCR (Unit 17) – SEIU proposed new language for a Continuous vacancy bid process to allow for greater flexibility in assignment scheduling

The State’s proposal on Paid Education Leave was followed by an insult directed at the nurses. “A State team member called our nurses untrustworthy during negotiations. They claimed that nurses are dishonest, and we took it as an insult,” said Unit 17 Chair Vanessa Seastrong. “We got very upset and vocal about this in negotiations due to the unreasonable and unprofessional remark. DSH wants to blame everybody within our unit for problems they have no part in. They want to put limitations on nurses and deny us this educational leave. It was very disturbing what she said to us.”

The State makes it difficult for nurses to obtain Continuing Educational Units (CEUs), which must be renewed by a board of nursing every two years, by repeatedly denying requests for this basic workplace requirement.

“The fundamental requirement of our job is licensure,” said Unit 17 Vice Chair Mary Naidoo. In an already difficult environment, it is challenging to schedule time off.  The State is trying to put more barriers in place toward granting time off requests by restricting how education leave is requested and used for obtaining the required CEUs.”

“We proposed that the State automatically approve nurses to take these educational courses after their third attempt,” said Seastrong. “We need to keep our licenses to work in our workplaces. We cannot be unreasonably and endlessly denied. All nurses in the state of California — and across the nation — are required to take continuing education classes. The state knows this and yet they still put roadblocks between workers.”

These proposals represent a deepening of an existing issue in the workplace that has created major complications for state nurses to remain in their careers while faced by the rising costs of living and being overworked.

While the State also countered us on several article sections, offering rollovers of existing language and rejecting our proposals, this bargaining session did not see any negotiation from the State.

The State has continued to demand responses from the SEIU Local 1000 negotiating team but has consistently refused to discuss in depth or seriously consider any proposal we make. This ongoing empty promise to consider more material has led to a situation where nurses voices are being shut down by the State.  “The State thus far has not come to the table to negotiate like they have in the past,” said Seastrong.

“I’m very disappointed in the State’s constant rejections, and I do not expect their position to change,” said Seastrong. “We have proposed reasonable changes, but have seen no movement on the salary and other major economic issues.”

If the state continues to be fixed in their positions, nurses will need to express their rights in the workplace and amplify their demands directly to the State in actions and events across the state.

“Please continue to purple up on Tuesday and Wednesdays to show your support for your bargaining team, because we’re fighting for a contract that the State does not want to give us,” said team member Sheila Coonan.

“We need to escalate our actions, and we need every nurse involved,” said Seastrong. “If you’re unsure of what’s going on in your workplace or what actions to take, call the Member Resource Center, and they’ll direct you to the right place.”

Unit 17 does not have a scheduled time as to when they will return to the table. 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.

If you have questions about actions planned at your worksite, contact the Member Resource Center (MRC) at 866.471.SEIU (7348), Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.