Over the last couple of months, our 5.19.3 Committee has met with the State to discuss ongoing concerns that the Unit has related to workload, strategies for addressing vacancies within the Unit at OCE, opportunities for our DJJ employees, and ways to address the long-term high vacancies among librarians.

Over the last couple of months, our 5.19.3 Committee has met with the State to discuss ongoing concerns that the Unit has related to workload, strategies for addressing vacancies within the Unit at OCE, opportunities for our DJJ employees, and ways to address the long-term high vacancies among librarians.

When we met in April, we made sure to continue to raise concerns regarding the untenable workload for many of our Unit 3 educators related to vacancies and recent changes to class schedules. We also talked with the State team about ways they plan to support our dedicated educators from DJJ after the Department closes, offering ideas about ways DJJ instructors can transfer to like programs within OCE to maintain state service. This was raised by our subject matter expert from DJJ who spoke to the dedication of DJJ educators and their desire to remain focused on reducing recidivism through education.  

The Team met again with the State on June 9. The Team again addressed the workload concerns of our Unit 3 educators and focused the majority of the conversation on the specific needs of Correctional Librarians who have faced extremely high vacancies for years. Our subject matter experts presented a tremendous amount of information as to every day work that librarians perform at the institutions. Our Team knew that the Department is aware of the vacancy rate for librarians, but the information presented ensured that the Department also knows of the benefits librarians offer to rehabilitative programming. The Department did ask for additional information from our Team as to the challenges our librarians face. We said we are happy to gather anecdotal evidence and also encouraged the Department to simultaneously gather information as well so that everyone had as much context and information as possible.

These continued conversations give our Team the chance to raise concerns that are impacting our Unit 3 employees in a setting focused on identifying solutions and plant the seeds of our concerns ahead of going to the bargaining table next year. We plan to meet with the State again in a couple of months to continue to discuss concerns and solutions related to the Unit’s work.

We encourage you to share with the team topics for discussion as we continue to meet with the State in a collaborative venue. You can send your ideas to unit3@seiu1000.org