Negotiations at the Master Table focused today on “Protect Us!” – contract provisions that ensure the health and safety of the 96,000 state employees we represent.

“Two weeks ago, we responded to your demands that the State “Pay Us!” with a proposal for a 30% pay increase and 100% paid health care premiums,” said Irene Green, Vice President for Bargaining. “Today, May 3, our proposals call for better working conditions.”

Two new proposals were presented:

On the heels of the pandemic, we’re calling for a Declared State of Emergency Taskforce (10.XX) to ensure Local 1000 has a voice at the table as the State develops public information and response plans to state- or county-wide emergencies.

Unit 15 Chair Eric Murray led the team in proposing a new contract section (10.X – Sharps Disposal) that would make a sharps container available in all restrooms in state office buildings—extending the protections of a 2008 state law preventing the disposal of sharps in household trash or recycling containers.

“Readily-available, proper disposal of sharps is a health and safety issue for all our represented employees,” said Murray. “Decreasing the number of sharps disposed of in standard trash receptacles will help prevent potential health risks to custodial staff and other waste and recycling workers.”

We proposed stronger language in the following five contract sections:

  • 10.6 Emergency Evacuation Procedures – ensuring updated procedures and proper training events including active shooter, bomb threats, riots, earthquakes, floods and fires.
  • 10.12 Employee Restroom Facilities – calls for gender-neutral restroom facilities to be provided to the extent possible.
  • 10.22 Computer Work Stations – added language to extend these important ergonomic protections to state employees who telework.
  • 10.33 Temperature Controls (Excluding Units 3 and 15) – added language to include the actual acceptable minimum and maximum temperature and humidity limits in worksites.

Unit 1 BUNC member Harry Price was a subject matter expert in the presentation of a revised section 10.21 Workplace Violence and Bullying Prevention Program. An early victim of worksite bullying, Harry has received extensive education and training in the topic and recently worked with State Senator Richard Pan and his staff on the issue.

“The State’s policies on prevention haven’t been touched in 23 years, and doesn’t include bullying,” said Price. This new language calls for a task force that updates the model for the prevention of this abusive behavior through the creation of a Joint Labor-Management Committee (JLMC)to develop best practices. “Bullying and violence can be reduced with a more diligent approach,” Price added. “At the same time, we reduce the devastating physical and emotional consequences, as well as lost productivity.”

At today’s Master Table, we reached a tentative agreement with the State on 16 different contract sections; all but one govern health and safety and working conditions.

  • 3.1 Union Security
  • 10.1 Health and Safety Commitment
  • 10.2 Health and Safety Committees
  • 10.3 Occupational Hazards
  • 10.4 Injury and Illness Prevention Programs
  • 10.7 Protective Clothing (Excludes Units 17 and 21)
  • 10.9 Safety Equipment (Excludes Units 15, 17, and 21)
  • 10.10 Medical Monitoring (Excludes Units 14, 17, and 21)
  • 10.13 Access to Work Areas 24 Hours (Excludes Units 17 and 21)
  • 10.14 Personal Alarms (Excludes Units 15, 17, and 21)
  • 10.18 Referral of Assault/Battery
  • 10.19 Assaultive Behavior (Excludes Units 3 and 17)
  • 10.23 Independent Medical Examinations
  • 10.25 Infectious Disease Control (Excludes Units 15, 17, 20, and 21)
  • 10.26 Precautions Against Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens
  • 10.27 Remodeling/Renovations and Repairs
  • 10.29 Smoking Cessation

And, we submitted another three “roll over” sections to the State, proposing that we preserve and maintain existing language from previous contract wins. “Remember that none of our contract language is guaranteed until we reach tentative agreement,” Green added. “We fight to ensure all these rights, hundreds of contract sections, every time we bargain with the State.”

  • 10.11 Hazardous Materials (Excludes Unit 17)
  • 10.28 Pest Control
  • 10.30 Health and Safety Grievances

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

Our next Master Table session is scheduled for May 10, as we continue the fight to win a contract that Respects Us, Protects Us, and Pays Us. To read about what happened in all our bargaining sessions to date, 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