Grassroots organizing yields quick results for CCHCS members
9:57 AM - February 19, 2014
JLMC formed to deal with worksite and community safety issues has a fast start
A new Joint Labor Management Committee (JLMC) at the Sierra
Conservation Center (SCC) state prison, achieved major
breakthroughs in improving conditions for workers, patients and
the community at their very first meeting in January.
Since summer 2013, members at the prison were subjected to numerous violations of our contract. Employees were forced to come to work and work in close conditions with patients and fellow staff while sick. Protections against mandatory overtime were also ignored, and one member actually fell asleep at the wheel while driving home after being forced to work 40 hours during a 64 hour time period–pos- ing a serious threat to her safety and the safety of all drivers in that community.
Members said ‘enough’
Security concerns often present a challenge for union actions behind prison walls, but that did not stop our members from working together to effect change. They began by having meaningful conversations with each other, while learning about their rights and what could be done to enforce them. Their organizing escalated in January, as they drew attention to serious risks to the safety of patients and neighboring communities because of dangerously tired workers and drivers.
Members get results
The members’ grassroots efforts resulted in a JLMC for the worksite to discuss and resolve issues collaboratively. After just one meeting, management agreed to stop docking pay for sick time, follow the progressive discipline and mandatory overtime rules outlined in the contract and meet every month with Local 1000 stewards to resolve issues facing medical workers.
“This JLMC is the product of our members supporting each other and taking action together to better our situation. Now we can meet with management and work out our issues in a non-hostile environment, ” said Krisse Fells-Kjono, Bargaining Unit 20 member who also sits on the committee. “I hope that we can be an example for other facilities–the solidarity that grew within our membership was truly inspiring.”
“Our biggest problem was lack of communication between managers and workers, and that led to even more problems,” said Bargaining Unit 17 member Randy Stan who sits on the committee. “This JLMC is a great step in the right direction, and I hope that other facilities and departments will use this tool to benefit our members.”