Member Stories


Member Story – Monica Blancarte

“It’s a whole new era, and people are seeing the importance of CNAs,”

As a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) at the Veterans Home of California in Fresno, Monica Blancarte serves the men and women who have served their country in the military.

In celebration of National Nurses Week, we’re highlighting the contributions of Monica and her fellow nurses who do so much to provide care and compassion.

“It’s a whole new era, and people are seeing the importance of CNAs,”

As a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) at the Veterans Home of California in Fresno, Monica Blancarte serves the men and women who have served their country in the military.

In celebration of National Nurses Week, we’re highlighting the contributions of Monica and her fellow nurses who do so much to provide care and compassion.

Taking care of people comes natural to Monica. Her career as a caregiver got an early start; her mother was diabetic and a young Monica helped with injections.

Her job is special to her. “This is the last place the residents will live, and we need to honor them and take care of them.” Monica backs up her philosophy by going beyond simply providing her residents with their basic needs. “They deserve dignity and respect, and I treat the human spirit as well.”

A CNA for nearly 20 years, Monica is the daughter of an Army veteran, and her own daughter also served in the Army. “I want this kind of care to be available for her if she needs it.”

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the face of health care. “It’s a whole new era, and people are seeing the importance of CNAs,” Monica said.

Contrary to what’s happening in many nursing homes, the 8 CalVet homes have only reported four total cases of COVID-19 as of May 6. “The reality is the entire long-term care team, along with the custodial crew, is working together to follow best practices, and it’s working.”

While she sees the pandemic as a “game changer,” Monica continues to do “nursing the way it’s supposed to be done—one patient at a time, providing good care and paying it forward.”

During this National Nurses Week and throughout the year, we are thankful for the compassion and expertise Monica and her colleagues bring to our families and our fellow Californians.


Member Story – Ruth Kiker

“We resurrected some additional equipment to make remote work possible, and now we’re managing nearly twice as many devices as before.”

While thousands of state employees are working remotely, there’s a group of unsung heroes keeping them connected: information technology support staff.


Member Story – Nicola Callahan

“We’re experiencing a much greater reliance on telemedicine and remote care.”

Nicola Callahan has seen and experienced a lot over her 43 years in nursing—17 years as an LVN and 26 as an RN—but nothing like the changes in the health care landscape brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.


Member Story – Laura Slavec

“Having the union and a steward at our worksite helps us get problems solved quicker and get answers to problems as they develop,”

The COVID-19 crisis has shown how important communication and a level of trust between workers and management is, as well as the need to follow regulations.


Member Story – Lindsay Cho

“This is more personal than usual, and we’re working as a team to do the best we can.”

During this pandemic, nurses are our superheroes. Their superpowers are care, compassion, and trust, and they’re making invaluable contributions at their jobs and in their communities. We celebrate them during National Nurses Week.


Member Story – Connie Amos

“Experiencing Nursing in a New Light.”

For Connie Amos, there’s a silver lining in the coronavirus cloud: her chosen profession of nursing is enjoying newfound appreciation during a challenging time.

“What my brothers and sisters in nursing have always called a ‘thankless’ job is being seen in a new light,” says Connie. “We’re feeling more appreciated, and more respected for the things we do.”


Member Story – Diane Shepherd

“When we do a good job of protecting ourselves, we’re protecting others as well,”

While Diane Shepherd continues her essential work at CDCR as a Case Records Analyst, COVID-19 is impacting her personal safety and changing the way she does her job serving California.


Member Story – Giovanni Martinez

“We can come back with stronger healthcare protections and stronger workplace safety.”

With the almost daily updates and responses to the COVID-19 crisis on everyone’s mind, the workers at the frontlines of California’s recovery are already thinking ahead.


Member Story – Tammie Howze

“Coronavirus adds an extra layer of peril for prison workers.”

Tammie Howze is just one of the medical professionals represented by Local 1000 doing work that’s both essential and fraught with danger.  She’s a Unit 11 Lab Technician working at Folsom Prison.


Member Story – Jennedier Martinez

“Education is a key component to keeping safe,”

At a time when all Californians are struggling to stop the coronavirus from spreading, some of our Local 1000-represented health care professionals face the additional challenge of protecting themselves and their patients from COVID-19.


Member Story – Kehinde Adeoye

“A lot of management doesn’t know how to respond and we need to take the lead as a union.”

For many EDD workers, the COVID-19 crisis has been defined by the overwhelming increase in claims being made by displaced restaurant, food service, and service workers.


Member Story – Mandy Ho

“We had to purchase our own supplies for sanitation for our office to take proactive steps in response,”

While a lot of attention has been given to emergency responses to the COVID-19 crisis, these responses would not be possible without the work of thousands of state workers handling the complex financial and logistical problems involved. Mandy Ho, an employee of the DHCS in


Member Story – Greg Dixon

Keeping coworkers safe while providing an essential service.

Our members continue to provide essential services across the state during challenging times, one of the most critical being the management of California’s water system.

 “We’re providing reliable and safe delivery of water, the most precious resource known to humankind,” says Greg Dixon, a 17-year state employee working for the Department of Water Resources in Southern California.


Member Story – Jerome Washington

North state union leader helping to keep roads open and members protected.

The work of Caltrans—our state’s department of transportation—can be considered as essential as any of the state agencies our members work for, and they’re feeling the impacts of the “shelter in place” order in a big way.


Member Story – Kim Hayes

Making Masks and Fulfilling our Purpose.

Kim Hayes is going “all in” during the coronavirus pandemic and, with the help of her family, she’s making a difference by making much-needed masks.

“We’re facing a real shortage of protective equipment at the prison where I work, and I’m responding to that need,” Kim says. “I delivered my first 250 masks in five days, and I’m already making more.”


Member Story – Tamiko Howard

Too close for comfort.

A little more than a week after Gov. Newsom’s shelter-in-place order, the DMV closed all of its more than 170 field offices to the public and shifted to providing essential services by mail and online.


Member Story – Joyce Wheeler-Owens

“Stay calm and carry on.”

With tens of thousands of Californians suddenly out of work, our member leader Joyce Wheeler-Owens and her colleagues at the Employment Development Department are working to make a difference.  


Member Story – Alfredo Cortez

“I’m making sure workplaces are sanitized to minimize the coronavirus impact.”

Alfredo Cortez is providing essential services to his fellow state workers by helping to keep the state office building in San Diego clean and safe for his fellow workers whose jobs require them to work on site.


Member Story – Vanessa Seastrong

“We should act like everyone has the virus” and protect ourselves.

Vanessa Seastrong is a Registered Nurse and one of the healthcare professionals in the state who’s working inside the wire at Patton State Hospital, providing care for patients while striving to keep herself, her colleagues, and her patients as safe and healthy as possible.


Member Story – Irene Green

“Many people want to work but are concerned for their health. In spite of that some of us are still here 6-7 days a week,”

With the closure of restaurants and bars across the state, the unemployment office has been under unprecedented pressure to meet the demands of processing an ever-growing number of claims from newly unemployed workers.


Member Story – Bobby Dutta

“…we are equally committed to fulfilling our duties in protecting the public by ensuring that food supplies, medical devices, and drugs continue to be safe and available for people in need.”

Bobby Dutta works as an analyst for the Food and Drug Branch of the California Department