After kicking off bargaining for our “master table” session last week, members across the state are making their voices heard as we demand a strong contract that Respects, Protects, and Pays the employees that kept California running for the last three years.

On April 17, Bargaining Unit 20 (BU 20), went to the table to begin their unit-specific negotiations with the State. BU 20, which represents medical and social services specialists, including LVNs, CNAs, Teaching Assistants, Laboratory Technologists, Physical Therapists, and Counselors, has faced some extremely challenging conditions as they navigated COVID-19 and the State and management’s response.

“Members drive this process, and we follow their direction,” said Heather Markovich, Bargaining Unit 20 Chair. “There’s a lot riding on this, but we came in prepared thanks to our research, the strength of our team, and the time we spent getting to understand our strategy. We’re very cohesive.”

During Monday morning’s session, our team presented a number of contract articles for “rollover,” a term you’ll hear used to describe parts of the contract that don’t require negotiation this cycle. Today’s rollover articles include maintaining our Labor Management committee at California School for the Deaf, Riverside; our return-to-work “light/limited duty” program for employees incapacitated due to illness or injury; and a continuation of the Flexible Benefits Program (FlexElect). Setting these protections aside during bargaining ensures that we will be able to address the ongoing issues without risking these workplace protections crucial to medical and social services.

We presented four new proposals in the afternoon that contained new language and new protections for members. Two of these proposals focused on time-off exchanges and continuing our education leave programs, built off existing language to strengthen the protections we have in our worksites.

Additionally, we presented two new proposals designed to address the ongoing problem of mixed shifts. BU 20 represented employees often find themselves working most days on one shift but with some days assigned shifts earlier or later in the day. Additionally, we proposed a task force for pharmacy technicians in Stockton, including post and bid language. If successful, pharmacy technicians could choose their workplace and pick their schedules.

“Our focus is on addressing the issues our members identified in our bargaining surveys, town halls, and meetings at worksites across the state, said Markovich, who works as a Licensed Vocational Nurse at the California Medical Facility. “We’re members just like all of our coworkers. The input from the surveys and town halls leads where we go in negotiations.”

Unit 20 returns to the table next week, on Monday, April 24. 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.