Contract enforcement fight ends in $25K settlement at DPH
State department ignored seniority preferences for overtime assignment


A Bargaining Unit One member received a $25,000 lump-sum settlement in arbitration after a grievance filed with the support of Local 1000 members and staff was denied at every level. The member, a Health Program Specialist I at the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), was being denied extra work assignments—Duty Officer Positions–that were rightfully his due to seniority. 

Contract enforcement—protecting our hard earned rights—is a priority for Local 1000. It starts with members and their stewards, who monitor workplace conditions and how the state interprets contract language. When a member feels their rights have been violated, they often work first with a Local 1000 steward who has been trained to evaluate the situation and, where necessary, engage the representational resources of our union. 

A Duty Officer position in DPH is a rotating assignment involving overtime work and special “on-call” duties. The member applied several times for the Duty Officer opportunity, but was denied, allegedly, because he did not have the right combination of skills and attitude. The member had seniority over others who were selected, and he believed he was more qualified for the special assignment. 

Our contract states that overtime should be awarded based upon seniority in cases where overtime is prevalent and there are more than three equality qualified employees who would like the work within a work unit. 

Local 1000 continued to pursue the issue, despite repeated denials of the grievance. In arbitration, the member was granted a lump sum settlement. Because of the settlement, DPH is reevaluating its selection criteria. 

“The collective strength of our workers standing together with our representation team made this result possible,” says Tamekia N. Robinson, vice president for organizing/representation. “The state never would have made such a big settlement without the threat of union power