Bargaining has entered its second week for our Unit 20 Bargaining Unit Negotiating Committee (BUNC), representing LVNs, CNAs, Teaching Assistants, Dental Assistants, Registered Dental Assistants, Dental Hygienists, Pharmacy Technicians, Laboratory Technologists, Physical Therapists, Counselors, and many other classifications working across California.

On April 24th, the Unit 20 BUNC went to the table to continue unit-specific negotiations with the State.  We presented four contract articles to the State for “rollover,” signaling our desire that the existing language remains unchanged, keeping in place the hard-won rights from previous contract campaigns. The State agreed, and thus, a “tentative agreement” was reached on these three articles:

5.18.20   –         Labor Management Committee, California School for the Deaf, Riverside
10.32.20 –         Information Regarding Medical Condition
21.22.20 –         Licensure/Certification

The State also returned a proposal from last week on continuing education. “When they asked why this proposal was an issue for us, we went into our surveys and were able to provide specific cases from responding workers,” said BUNC Chair Heather Markovich. “The State was pushing back on costs on this issue, but we wanted them to understand that by increasing the knowledge of our workforce, we can both support the quality care to our patients and the career opportunities workers have.”

In addition, the Unit 20 ream proposed new language today, centered around the Post and Bid procedure, which affects our certified nurse assistants and LVNs in all our locations. “This has a very broad impact,” said Markovich. “The Post and Bid process allows members to choose shifts, work area, and days off based on seniority. This allows our workers to better manage their work-life balance as they see fit. We have multiple people who have spouses or significant others who use the post and bid process so that they can minimize childcare costs, which remain high across the state.”

As we present more and more articles to the State, negotiations will continue to evolve, but our goals are clear. Our members need more support from their employer, and we need to maintain and expand our protections in the workplace. “This meeting was a little more tense than last week,” said Markovich. “They had a lot of questions for us, but we handled it well as a team.” 

The tensions at the table are in part due to our bargaining team holding the State accountable to its workers. After a proposal is passed across the table to the State, their negotiators have a week to review it and respond. “We’re putting a lot more pressure on the State to respond to us,” said Sarah Cooper, BUNC Alternate Vice Chair. “The State sometimes delays passing back counteroffers and tentative agreements. They started the day saying they had nothing to give us and that we may receive one agreed on proposal by the end of the day.”

In spite of the State’s pessimistic outlook, the Unit 20 BUNC was able to use our member’s responses to surveys, town hall meetings, and other comments to keep the meeting productive and fight for our member’s rights. “Heather pushed and demanded answers after they had a week to do their research,” said Cooper. “By the end of the day, we had three rollovers agreed to and proposed new language.”

Unit 20 returns to the table next week, on Monday, May 1st. To see updates on other bargaining unit contract sessions, click here for our Contract Action Center page at seiu1000.org.

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