Member Activist Laura Slavec – Fighting for a Safe Workplace and a Healthy Community
Laura Slavec is a member leader working to make a difference on the job and in her community, with the goal of a safe workplace and a healthy community. She’s a Registered Dental Assistant at Pelican Bay State Prison, where the fortunes of the community are closely tied to the CDCR facility—the largest employer in the area.
“It’s a company town, and the health and safety of the prison workers is closely intertwined with the community,” Laura says. “We live and thrive at home only if the workplace is safe.
Unfortunately, it’s not, according to Laura. Pelican Bay is a level 4 “supermax” prison—housing the most dangerous of prisoners— but the real peril is management’s response to the safety of the workers. “We are more fearful of the boss than the patients.”
As a result, Laura organized a committee of nurses and other health care workers at Pelican Bay to collect signatures in support of a vote of “no confidence” in the prison’s CEO.
Laura got involved with her union because “she didn’t like watching members get walked all over by management.” She became a steward through Local 1000’s six-month Leadership Apprentice Program for Stewards (LAPS) program and has been an activist ever since.
Leaders creating leaders is a Local 1000 value, and President Yvonne R. Walker’s vision to develop member leaders like Laura is what makes our union and communities stronger.
They’ve all underscored the concept of leading with a vision, have a north star to serve as a guide, and always to plan, plan, plan…all tools she uses to organize her fellow members at Pelican Bay.
Today, Laura is one of eight members of the Cost Savings Task Force that’s working with the State to identify $200 million in cost reductions that can then be redirected to employee compensation for July 2021.
“I wanted to be the voice that those members didn’t think they had and to stand up for what’s right.” By stepping up for her fellow members at Pelican Bay and across the state, Laura Slavec is serving as a shining example of how all of us can make a difference.