Central Coast members honored for outstanding organizing
Members of Local 1000 working in health care on the Central Coast were honored on April 17 with the Monterey Bay Central Labor Council’s Health Care Rising Award. The honor recognized the tremendous work Local 1000 has done organizing for better working conditions and advocating for patient safety at Salinas Valley State Prison (SVSP), the Correctional Training Facility (CTF) and the Department of State Hospitals-Salinas Valley (DSH). The award was shared with the California Nurses Association, which has been active in other health care facilities in the region. Our members were among the activists celebrated by elected Central Coast lawmakers, including Rep. Sam Farr, Assemblymember Luis Alejo, Assemblymember Mark Stone and state Sen. Bill Monning.
Local 1000 members have organized around a number of job-related issues leading to real change in at work. Among their accomplishments, safeguarding the post and bid process at SVSP and pushing to have the prison fix a dangerous broken call light system. Local 1000 also successfully pushed CTF to stop using electronic monitoring for timesheets, a practice expressly forbidden by our contract.
“We’re proud of our member’s efforts to organize themselves to solve problems in their workplaces,” said Tamekia N. Robinson, Local 1000 vice president for organizing/representation. “This award recognizes the real power a group of committed state workers can project by coming together with one voice.
Local 1000 member Jose Eric Alcaraz, an Office Technician at CTF in Soledad, was named a “Unionist of the Year” for his work as a union steward, district bargaining representative and central labor council delegate, as well as his work with groups such as COPA (Communities Organized for Relational Power in Action), which works with faith groups, public schools, labor and nonprofits to build leaders in the community.
Alcaraz, who went home with an armful of commendations from the attending leaders, has a clear vision of what it means to be an activist in both his local union and in the larger labor community represented at the MBCLC dinner. “I want to try to get as much knowledge as possible from older leaders and give it to younger leaders,” he said. “I want to be a bridge.”