Persistent and widespread vacancies are one of the biggest challenges facing the Unit 21 (Educational Consultants and Librarians) we represent. The adverse impacts on our workload and the quality of the service we provide to Californians are increasing.

In 2019, the Unit 21 had a 14% vacancy rate; today, it’s grown 50% to a staggering 22%. With one in five positions unfilled. The Unit 21 team chose to have an open-ended discussion about the problem.

We asked the State about their awareness of the problem, and what their plans were to improve the working conditions by filling the positions. The responses were less than satisfying. In one example, the State claimed increased recruiting efforts at the college level, despite many Unit 21 job descriptions calling for a minimum of 3-5 years’ experience.

“The state’s solutions don’t match the problems we face,” said Susie Watt, a member of the Unit 21 Bargaining Unit Negotiating Committee (BUNC). “We’ll continue to keep pushing the issue as we work through these negotiations.”

Unit 21 reached tentative agreement with the State to “rollover” current contract language for article 12.25.1, preserving our rights to reimbursement for medical examinations related to commercial driver licensing.

Today, we proposed to “rollover” seven additional contract articles that are examples of our “protect us” demand during this contract campaign and every day at work. Of particular note in this group: articles that govern training in infectious disease control (like COVID) and training in dangerous situations. These are all hard-won rights from previous contract battles.

  • 10.5.21 Health Promotion Activities (Unit 21) 
  • 10.7.21 Protective Clothing (Unit 21) 
  • 10.9.21 Safety Equipment (Unit 21) 
  • 10.14.21 Personal Alarms (Unit 21)
  • 10.20.21 Training for Hostile and Threatening Behavior (Unit 21)
  • 10.25.21 Training in Infectious Disease Control (Unit 21)
  • 13.10.21 Education and Training Required by Department (Unit 21)

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

Unit 21 returns to the table next week, on Monday, May 8. To see updates on other bargaining unit contract sessions, click here for our Contract Action Center page at

If you’re not already an SEIU Local 1000 member, join us today.