2020 Year in Review, Part Two
2020: Responding to Members in Changing Times
As we look back on 2020 and the myriad challenges Local 1000 members faced at work and at home, we have much to reflect on with pride. This week we remember how President Walker joined the effort to evaluate a permanent shift to teleworking for state employees; how our groundbreaking Apprenticeship Program continued its growth and progress despite the pandemic; and how our Member Resource Center helped navigate the crisis.
Can telework become permanent?
The COVID-19 pandemic forced California into a rapid and radical experiment. Seemingly overnight, tens of thousands of workers transitioned to working from home last Spring.
On November 5, 2020, President Walker testified before California’s Little Hoover Commission—an independent government oversight agency that promotes efficiency, economy and improved service—that nearly three in four state employees are working remotely, compared to just three percent before the Coronavirus hit. The Commission is examining the potential for a permanent shift to remote work.
“It’s exciting to reimagine how we do our work and to examine what changes and innovations can be put into place,” Walker said. “It’s possible to provide valuable state services and achieve cost savings for both the State and its employees.”
Apprenticeship program responds to pandemic
Our groundbreaking Apprenticeship Program—offering members upward mobility in the areas of nursing, finance, and information technology—were immediately impacted by COVID-19. In-person classroom and on-the-job training were gone, and our team responded creatively.
Coursework quickly shifted to online classes, supported by online mentoring and study sessions. Apprentices in the program are supported with Zoom meetings.
The pandemic crisis forced our programs to pivot to different methods, and we discovered some real positive outcomes: today, we’re speaking more frequently with apprentices and mentors alike. Plus, our interviews and online assessments are now done virtually, which makes the program more accessible to more applicants.
Finally, much like the positive outcomes we see with nearly 75% of members working remotely, we see a future Apprentice Program more readily available to members across the state and real opportunity to expand.
Providing real representation during a crazy time
Our Member Resource Center telephone call center is always busy, and the pandemic only made it more so. As the COVID-19 crisis grew and working conditions changed, more than 12,000 members reached out for assistance.
The initial calls received and answered were COVID-related, including health and safety (masks, PPE, how to handle exposures). However, they also included telework, ATO, and essential vs. non-essential questions. Most of the calls were from DMV, CDCR/CCHCS and CDCR.
The Union Resource Center filed grievances for members whose pay was docked or their leave incorrectly applied when the State had assured they would be placed on ATO. Our representational efforts for members were successful in getting improper time accounting reversed.
In June, July, and into the fall, our Member Resource Center answered calls relating to the side letter negotiations and the new Personal Leave Program.
Throughout 2020, and today, Local 1000 is providing real representation for our members along with the support necessary to navigate a changed, and changing, workplace.