Our new Unit 4 chair is fighting to make our member voices heard


Karen Jefferies’ recent election as the Unit 4 Bargaining Chair is just the latest example of a long history of leadership and activism in support of her fellow members. 

In her 21 years as a state employee and union leader, she’s worked tirelessly to move her union forward and has been a member of the Unit 4 bargaining team since 2006. Karen works as a Program Technician II at the Department of Justice (DOJ) in Sacramento.

For Karen, being a union member is part of her heritage. In fact, her mother, who also worked at DOJ and was also a Local 1000 steward, signed her up for steward training the day Karen passed her six-month probation so many years ago.

“I choose my union and choose to fight for justice for working families because it’s in my DNA,” says Jefferies.

“Unit 4 represents a wide breadth of classifications, and making sure all Unit 4 worker’s voices are heard is important to the bargaining team,” she said. “Our bargaining team is comprised of members representing all regions of the state so members can have access to their elected representatives to discuss important issues.”

Key among those issues is upward mobility for all state workers. “We want to ensure members have the resources they need for career empowerment and the ability to define their own career paths that aren’t bound to a classification system series,” said Jefferies.

To that end, Jefferies is part of the team building power for our upcoming contract negotiations. She’s working to create strategies and engage members so that the 96,000 workers we represent have a pathway to promote and build sustainable careers.

“As the state continues to consolidate classifications through their Civil Service Improvement (CSI) Project, we will work to ensure that there are opportunities for Unit 4 members and all workers to have a pathway to promote and build sustainable careers,” she said.

Our bargaining team is also focused on using the power of our members and our contract to provide safe working environments while providing quality services and that our members can work for the state and have affordable housing, health care, transportation and child care.

“Our goals are many but our will to fight for our members is greater,” said Jefferies.