Member Story – Giovanni Martinez
“We can come back with stronger healthcare protections and stronger workplace safety.”
With the almost daily updates and responses to the COVID-19 crisis on everyone’s mind, the workers at the frontlines of California’s recovery are already thinking ahead.
Giovanni Martinez, an Assistant Program Analyst at STO and an SEIU Local 1000 member, has been thinking about the future more and more. “Things are better. The curve has been flattened, but if we make the primary focus on opening up the economy, that’s unsafe for workers,” he said. “I’ve tried to stress to other people that we aren’t ‘working from home,’ we are ‘trying to work from home during a pandemic.”
Like many employees, Martinez has been trying to answer an important question: ‘What can we do now to learn from this crisis?’
“People aren’t going to forget this crisis. Things will not go back to normal,” said Martinez. “Some managers who had previously fought for hazard pay were removed in the past, which this crisis has shown is something state workers, especially those of us working in the field, definitely need — now and in the future.”
Essential workers aren’t just helping California during the crisis; they will be helping workers for a long time to come. “Before we know it, it’ll be time to renew our contract, and I think this can be a great opportunity to organize, engage with members, and grow our union,” said Martinez. “We can come back with stronger healthcare protections and stronger workplace safety.”
Even with all the huge changes California has been going through recently, there will be more changes to come as we better understand how to fully prepare for the future, protect each other, and prevent another outbreak. “As state workers, we can help lead everyone in California with a strong example that telework can work, but we need to make sure that we are not letting people slip through the cracks,” said Martinez. “Coronavirus knows no bounds.”