Beth Bartel Works to Break Down Accessibility Barriers for her Fellow Workers
Beth Bartel, SEIU Local 1000 Member and President of DLC 768, first became involved with the Union when she felt the need to speak up for those she worked with. “I wanted to become a Steward because I was tired of witnessing and experiencing workplace bullying that management wouldn’t address,” she said. “I felt my coworkers and I deserve better, and if I didn’t stand up, I shouldn’t expect anyone else to.” This commitment to stepping up has driven her 8-year tenure as a Steward and DLC President.
As a leader of her DLC, Beth’s work is broad in scope but focuses on the same issues it always has: ensuring everyone has a safe, healthy work environment and standing with workers who are going through the same thing she experienced. “I’m here to educate and empower Local 1000 members to work for fair treatment,” she said. “I’ve had terrific experiences as a DLC President; I’ve worked with fellow union leaders that I otherwise would never have met, formed lifelong bonds, and become like family.”
Recently, Beth worked as the Chair of Local 1000’s Accessibility Committee, one of 10 human rights committees Local 1000 has established to educate members on specific issues across the state. “We’re currently working on educational resources on employee rights under the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act,” said Beth. “This information is important because despite the disparities in our background or experience, ability and accessibility issues cross all demographics and affect us all.”
This broad impact sometimes goes overlooked in discussions of what is needed to ensure all state workers are accommodated as much as possible in their work. “If you think about it, each of us has or knows someone who has at least one disability,” said Beth. The work of the Accessibility Committee focuses on closing gaps in knowledge surrounding these issues. “We can all strive to make our workplaces better for everyone, not just the few who have no limitations.”
For Beth, this is a struggle she finds herself invested in for the long term. “I’m proud to serve on Local 1000’s Accessibility Committee,” she said. “As someone who is non-neurotypical, I have worked and continue to work to achieve my own safe space in the workplace and I want to empower others to do the same,” she said. The future of this work, which has become even more critical as health and safety concerns loom large over state workers, is still being built. “I’m really excited to work with the Accessibility Committee to identify and recognize leaders and innovators who find new ways to remove barriers to accessibility.”