Unit 17 Bargaining Update for Tuesday, July 9, 2019
RN’s Head to the Bargaining Table


The SEIU Unit 17 bargaining team met for the first time with state negotiators on Tuesday, July 9, to represent the interests of the over 5300 Registered Nurses across California. During the session, Unit 17-represented members made presentations about their job classification, putting a face on the challenging and often dangerous situations they encounter on a daily basis.

“We are advocating to improve working conditions for nurses and to give us an opportunity to advocate for our patients,” said Dorrie Steadman, Unit 17 Alternate Vice Chair and Registered Nurse. “We need to have strong wages, benefits, and working conditions to recruit and retain nurses.”

A major problem that currently exists is that RNs are at a higher standard than other classifications, which the state does not recognize. “As registered nurses, our license is not respected,” added Vanessa Seastrong, Unit 17 Vice Chair and Registered Nurse. “We want to communicate that our license and our skills should be respected.” Using nurses for the job they are educated and licensed to do also saves the state money rather than assigning them to the lesser roles RNS are all too often relegated.

Inappropriate supervision is also an issue for registered nurses in institutions across California. As such, the Unit 17 team introduced a strong proposal to directly address this. In all, the team passed six specific proposals, three of which were continuing contract provisions. These included:

  1. Registered nurses should only be supervised by an RN
  2. Registered Nurses shall only be floated into an RN position. RNs are tired of doing the work of lower classifications, especially when their own patients have to wait
  3. Nurses have a stronger voice at the worksite on patient care, safety, ratio, and acuity issues by strengthening the Professional Practice Group language.

We also proposed maintaining the current contract provisions, such as:

  1. Distribution of Union Information language to retain hard-fought rights.
  2. Classification Recruitment and Retention Committee language to retain hard-fought rights.
  3. Court Appearance and/or Court Subpoena language. 

“Nurses advocate every day for other people. Today we advocated to make nurses lives better. That’s how we’re helping to create a just, ethical state and playing a vital role in building a California for All,” said Bob Mutebi, BUNC team member and Registered Nurse.

The Unit 17 bargaining team members include Kim Cowart (Napa State Hospital), Vanessa Seastrong (Patton State Hospital), Bob Mutebi (CHCF), Tony Ziebart (Metro State Hospital) and Dorrie Steadman (RJ Donovan). 

Unit 17, which represents over 5300 members across California, will return to the master table July 10th & 11th and to the Unit 17 bargaining table on July 19th.