From the Desk of Local 1000 Board Chair Bill Hall
Thursday, May 4, 2022
- I recently began conversations with our Legal Department around sharing member / non-member information with DLC presidents, chairs, and staff. Board member consideration will be requested going forward on the possible expansion to chief stewards and job stewards. Our IT Department has been included as well. I am working to get our Board of Directors the tools they have been requesting to ensure they have what they need to increase membership and protect your information. We’re also examining a software and hardware choice and will conduct a small test trial prior to full rollout. While we’re working as quickly as possible to make this happen, the Board will have to approve the process and spending prior to full implementation.
- The SEIU International’s New York Call Center is on its third dial pass through our phone list. They’ve signed up 53 new union members, 19 of whom have pledged a total of $168 per pay period to COPE. Meanwhile, our IT team is delivering a better-quality list for the team to work from. It’s my understanding that we have a non-disclosure agreement with the NY Call Center.
- We have a date set with the State to return to the table on Essential Worker Pay.
- Working with CalHR, Local 1000 reached an agreement on Telework last Wednesday, April 27. With the side letter in place, represented employees should begin receiving their stipend within 90-120 days and have language that offers better protections than before. Our team was professional, focused, and determined to execute the best agreement possible. Those at the table on your behalf included Irene Green, VP for Bargaining; Susan Rodriguez, BU 1 Chair; Karen Jefferies, BU 4 Chair; Robert Holtz, BU 3 Chair; Brad Willis, BU 11 Chair; Robert Vega, BU 14 Chair; Eric Murray, BU 15 Chair; Vanessa Seastrong, BU 17 Chair; Melissa Vartanian, BU 20 Chair; Bobby Roy, BU 21 Chair; Andrew Vasicek, State Bar Chair; Bobby Dutta; David Jimenez, VP / Secretary-Treasurer; Anica Walls, VP for Organizing / Representation; and myself as Board Chair at the request of the team leadership. The team was assisted by our Contract Department Director, Brooke Pierman.
- Under the guidance of Lezlie Uko and the Area Coordinators, we are excited to once again be treating Wednesday as an organizing day. This change will help improve our field/worksite visibility as we prepare to bargain a new contract in 2023. I am working to have numbers to report back on everything from membership cards signed to how many meetings were held.
- I passed a potential new hire at the organizer/rep level on to our Human Resources Department. HR has begun the hiring process and, if completed, we will have a new staff person in the LA area soon.
- At the request of the Accounting Department and VP Jimenez, with agreement from myself, VP Walls, and VP Green, we are moving forward with the purchase of the Vena software. This will improve the ability of our Accounting Department to develop real time financial reports as well as financial projections. The final subscription was $19,500.00 as negotiated by our CFO. This will be an informational item on the next board agenda.
- We should consider hiring a new Field Director, a position that has been vacant since our last contract. I have asked the International to assist us in attracting qualified candidates. This will have to be presented to the Board for approval.
- President Richard Brown (suspended) returned to Sacramento Superior Court to request reconsideration of the Preliminary Injunction. Friday afternoon, April 29, the Court denied his request; as a result, the Preliminary Injunction remains in effect.
- Net new members for last week was +44. We still have work to do, but this marks the first week since July 2021 that we signed up more members than we lost due to drops, promotions, members who left state service, or retirement.
- My final thought for the week revolves around my current role as the Board Chair. Along with the Local 1000 Board of Directors, I have not been able to accomplish the work members expect and the Local needs completed. I am uncomfortable over the Board’s inability to establish a strategic plan, discuss roles and responsibilities, and define how we collectively move forward. Therefore, I have been reaching out to Board members individually to listen, question, and incorporate what I hear into my decision making. Likewise, the Board has a responsibility to reach out to me, to work collaboratively, be respectful, and not to be obstructionist. I was hoping to have more direction from the Board by now. Every decision I have made since March 5th has been guided by what I believe the Board would support and our membership expects from me. My focus has been on building membership, which is essential to ensuring the survival of Local 1000 and garnering the power needed to bargain a strong contract in 2023.
In the meantime, I have taken the following steps:
- Worked with our Department Heads to remove obstacles and empower them to direct their staff effectively and efficiently. We are also working to improve the office environments themselves so that staff have a safe and pleasant workplace.
- Cancelled the additional holidays President Brown (suspended) granted without Board approval. The costs to our Union were unsustainable and not in the UAW 2350 contract.
- Moved to rehire Denye Versher as our CFO with support from staff, VPs Jimenez, Walls, and Green, with Board approval, to better enable our Accounting Department to do their work and have complete financials and a budget for Board consideration in June.
- The annual independent audit is ongoing. There will be a report for the Board at the June Board Meeting.
- Worked with staff to set Board of Director’s meeting dates for the remainder of 2022 and 2023 for board consideration, as reported out last week.
- Listened to staff concerns around the costs and time required to plan and execute in-person meetings and the costs related to the potential cancellation of an in-person meeting due to COVID. The discussion also included how we accommodate Board members who may still desire to attend virtually. My understanding is that in-person board meetings cost approximately $250,000.00 each. While I would like to meet in person when it is safe to do so, declining membership, no clear understanding of our Local’s financial standing, and the possible resurgence of COVID cause me to proceed cautiously in planning our Board meetings, as cancellations are expensive. I am also exploring how the Board can execute the work of our Local without meeting as often.
Running a Board Meeting has been a learning experience. I began these weekly reports to inform the Board and the membership of my progress, and I hope that sharing my thinking, concerns, and approach to moving Local 1000 forward is helpful.
I deeply respect and am humbled by the position I currently hold at the pleasure of the Board. I take this responsibility very seriously and am focused on executing the work both of the Board and our membership in its day-to-day operations of Local 1000.
Thank you for your support,
William (Bill) Hall
Board Chair, SEIU Local 1000