State contract employee turns state worker
1:48 PM - September 10, 2012
Unit 1 member combats outsourcing with professionalism and pride
Once a contract employee with the state, Mike Bonner now partners with Local 1000 to help put a stop to the outsourcing of bargaining unit work. Not only does Mike lend his unique expertise to help identify contracts that cost the state unnecessarily, he trains other Local 1000 members to help do the same. During his time as a contract employee, he saw a great amount of waste and instances of bargaining unit work being done by contractors and he knew it had to change.
Bonner, a Unit 1 Systems Software Specialist II for the California Department of Community Services and Development, first became a union activist when he worked for the City of Fresno when the city tried to outsource their IT department. “It didn’t make sense to move forward on an enterprise that was going to cost the city even more money – that is one of the reasons I feel so strongly about Local 1000’s outsourcing campaign.”
While performing contract work for the state in 2005, one of the contractors he worked beside was employed for over 10 years; the state simply kept renewing the contract instead of looking for an efficient, long-term solution. Mike became a state employee and knew he had to take action and became a union activist. Bonner reflects, “Vendor contracts make it impossible for state workers to advance in their own careers. The state doesn’t have to train a state worker to do the job if they are already paying a contractor to perform the work that a Local 1000 member should be doing.”
The June side letter put a task force in place to review wasteful contracts and take action. The task force is comprised of members who review the vendor contracts, Local 1000’s contract, research and legal departments, and negotiators who sit down with the state to see what contracts should be investigated for reduction or elimination. Valuable member leaders, like Mike Bonner, volunteer their time to train other members who will make an invaluable contribution in the fight against contracting out.
Bonner sees Local 1000 becoming an even stronger union–as we continue to defend state workers, give back to our communities and move California forward. “It is so important to become active in whatever capacity you feel comfortable with–political phone banking or precinct walking, helping clean a park with your coworkers, or even reviewing vendor contracts to help stop wasteful spending,” he said. “Everything helps!”