Bargaining Team Proposes a More Realistic and Respectful Essential Worker Pay Package


Our Local 1000 Bargaining Team—led by Irene Green, VP of Bargaining— returned to the table with the state on Sept. 1 to present an Essential Worker Pay (EWP) proposal that more appropriately rewards our represented employees for their efforts to provide vital services in truly dangerous public-facing working conditions that continue as this pandemic persists.

Our new proposal is for a one-time payment of $6,000 for all eligible employees represented by Local 1000 regardless of whether they were teleworking or in person.

“Our proposal more realistically defines “essential worker” to include the hard-working employees at EDD, DMV, and at scores of other agencies who kept the revenue coming in,” said Irene Green, VP for Bargaining. “They helped to create the biggest budget surplus in California history.

The state’s initial proposal was for $1,500 to be paid to a much smaller group of employees, limited only to those employed in a correctional facility, a correctional health facility, State Hospital, Veteran’s Home and/or Developmental Services facility, delivering in-person care to the most acute patients.

The state is working on a response to our proposal; a commitment has been made to return to the bargaining table but no date has been set as of this writing.

In last week’s bargaining session, we read aloud strong statements from our members and also from our bargaining chairs, each of whom represents essential workers in many classifications. Here are some excerpts:

“The State has changed the definition of “essential” from the start of the pandemic to now … determined that State workers were so essential … that it felt it needed to take a 9% reduction of all state workers’ pay.” – Susan Rodriguez, Unit 1 Bargaining Chair

“I have (hundreds of classifications of) Unit 4 members that have been mandated to come into the worksite because their work … is essential.” – Karen Jefferies, Unit 4 Bargaining Chair

“Your proposal already includes medical staff in hospital settings … but does not include the … (Unit 20) group providing services outside that.” – Heather Markovich, Vice-Chair, Unit 20.

“California labeled us “essential” when the State wanted our services through the pandemic. Now it conveniently ignores us when the State is considering who to compensate.” – Bobby Dalton Roy, Unit 21 Bargaining Chair.

The state must now show their acknowledgement of the essential workers and do more than provide “thank yous” for the services we provided.  The state must now show us the respect that we are all essential workers and acknowledge us in this EWP proposal.   

Our Local 1000 team includes the nine Bargaining Unit Chairs, all three Vice Presidents, the Board Chair, and staff from the Contract Department.