We are entering our third week of bargaining with the State for a contract that respects, protects, and pays the workers who have kept California running. The Bargaining Unit Negotiating Committee (BUNC) for Office and Allied Workers represented by Local 1000, Bargaining Unit 4, went to the table on May 2 to bring a focus on the dangerous situations that state workers have faced and to demonstrate the protections that we need on the job.

The Team proposed one article as a “rollover,” signaling our desire that the existing language remainunchanged, keeping in place the hard-won rights from previous contract campaigns. The rollover article is the following:

  • 13.11.4 – Upward Mobility and Training 

Additionally, they proposed two new articles. These articles are intended to address issues not covered in our current Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

New Language – 10.XX.4 – Transport of Bodily Fluids/Specimens (Prohibits management from mandating Unit 4 to collect, handle, or transport bodily fluid/specimen)

New Language – 10.XXX.4 – Wellness and Recovery Time (Creates a mandatory 48-hour “off work/recovery” time when employees work 8 consecutive days or more than 200 hours in a pay period)

The first new language proposal on the Transport of Bodily Fluids/Specimens addresses the longstanding issue of Unit 4 employees being told to perform tasks outside their roles as Office & Allied Workers.

Unit 4 members are not trained in handling bodily fluids and cleaning up biohazards. “Our training is an overview of what an airborne or bloodborne pathogen is, not how to handle these samples,” said BUNC member Nicole Crist. “Our members are support staff. It’s not in our job scope to take vitals or patient history.”

Our proposal surrounding the wellness and recovery time is a response to ongoing calls from our members to address workload issues. “This came about because there is an increase in Unit 4 employees being mandated to do overtime work,” said BUNC Chair Karen Jefferies. “We wanted to make sure that our employees’ work-life balance could be respected.”

“Mandatory overtime creates burnout,” said Crist. “It’s long past time that this issue was addressed.”

A Tentative Agreement was reached on five (5) rollover articles:

  • 13.11.4 – Upward Mobility and Training
  • 13.35.4 – Employee Recognition and Morale Program – Franchise Tax Board (FTB), Board of Equalization (BOE), California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA), and Office of Tax Appeals (OTA)
  • 14.16.4 – Program Technician Classification Series
  • 14.25.4 – Dispatcher Clerk/Dispatcher Clerk, Caltrans Classification Task Force Study
  • 20.14.4 – Post and Bid Program for Department of Transportation (Caltrans) District 4 (S.F. Bay Area)

Of these proposals, 13.11.4 – Upward Mobility was presented by the BUNC and accepted by the State in the same session, which shows the critical need for this language, and the ability of the BUNC team to push aggressively to ensure that important protections for Unit 4 employees are maintained.

“Upward mobility has been a long-time coming, and it’s something we needed to thoroughly address,” said Crist. “Karen and her commitment to this issue made sure that it was heard.”

“We want things to move on our table, and the State is on the same page with us on this,” said Jefferies. “We’re trying to make sure that we’re putting the things that our members are asking for across the table.”

Members will continue to lead the direction of negotiations with the State through worksite actions and member statements. “We want to bring our member’s voices into the room by bringing their statements and evidence to the table,” said BUNC Alternate Vice Chair Jose Eric Alcaraz.

You can read the details of these and all current contract articles at contract.seiu1000.org

Unit 4’s next meeting with the State to win a contract that Respects Us, Protects Us, and Pays Us is set for May 9. To read about what happened in Tuesday’s other bargaining sessions, please visit the Contract Action Center page at seiu1000.org

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.