Workers’ Rights

Don’t underestimate us!


Hopefully you as the SEIU Nurse Alliance membership, are aware of the extraordinary effort that the most vulnerable workers in our community, namely, the night-shift men and women on the property maintenance (Janitorial) staffs throughout the state took a bold stand against workplace harassment and abuse at the hands of unscrupulous supervisors and managers. Our sisters and brothers in SEIU’s USWW locals bravely followed through on their promise of a 5-Day-Fast at the State Capital.

It would be reasonable to expect that visits from State Insurance Commissioner and Candidate for Attorney General, D Jones, and the signing of AB1978 would have satisfied the publicity goals of these fasting janitors. Yet while this high-profile, high-risk demonstration of resolve was successful in giving voice to a vulnerable population, it also transcended the original meaning of the protest – namely, to show the Governor, and the people of California, the spirit of Ya Basa!, beyond the current and emerging law of the land. These demonstrators, even though AB1978 was signed into law on day 3 of the fast, persisted as planned for the full 5-days. This demonstration of resolve, signified to all that changes in the law, while necessary, are incomplete. It’s the change in consciousness that were after.

Nurses from SEIU Nurse Alliance of California collaborated to provide medical support and spirited encouragement to the fasting janitors. “This is what community is about, we help each other in times of need. Those of us who were unable to participate in the fasting were able, in our own way to show support for this cause by sharing our stories, listening to their personal testimony about their xperiences of surviving various forms of abuse, harassment, or attack” said Ingela Dahlgren, Director of SEIU Nurse Alliance of California and fellow surviving rape victim. “It was a very emotional experience for me because in supporting the needs of these incredible women I relived the memory of my own survival story.” She continued.

Members are encouraged to closely watch this issue evolve going forward. Governor Brown’s decision to enact AB1978 as law is an important start, but by no means an end to the struggle for workplace safety for night-shift janitors. Here are some important links to follow:

USWW’s Facebook Page

Press Release Covering The 5-Day Fast in Sacramento

Blog Post detailing Justice for Janitors campaign

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2016 Legislative Conference in Sacramento: RNs Leading the Way to Healthier Communities

2016 Leg Conf Venn Graphic

We’re thrilled to announce the 2016 Legislative Conference, Nurses Leading the Way to Healthier Communities,  Come join us during the first week of May at the State Capitol! This year we’re featuring more of the hard-hitting career affirming presentations which today’s nurses have come to know and love. Extending the tradition of timely,  relevant, and lively discussion about Economic Disparity, Environmental Influence and Political Power. Come join us and add your voice to the growing team of nurses who shape the future!

When: Tuesday May 3 & Wednesday May 4, 2016
Where: The Citizen Hotel
Address: 926 J Street, Sacramento, California 95814
Total Contact Hours: 10.0 Free CEU’s
Registration: Registration Starts at 08:00.

Please let your SEIU Local know that you’d like to attend

Some of the topics include: As a nurse, you have environmental influence! This section covers: Infectious diseases on our horizon, Pollution in Our Own Back Yard, and our Prescription Drug Epidemic. You understand economic disparity segment includes: Social Advocacy & Race Relations, Staying Active and Informed, and the reality of Health Care Disparity in our society. You are empowered to bring change through political awareness: How to affect legislative changes for the greater good of your fellow nurses, Leverage protections offered through Cal/OSHA while preventing retaliation, and perhaps most importantly, how to become an advocate for better patient care, especially in communities where health care disparities are most distinct.

All SEIU nurses are welcome. If you are within driving distance, please consider carpooling, or planning a road trip with friends.  The cost of shared gas and roommate lodging could cost the same amount as paying to take a 10 CEU class.  Since this 2 day conference is free and meals are included, it is well worth the investment!

Secure your spot now by clicking the button below and help strengthen our voice in the Capitol.


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Resources for Workers’ Rights

Union Stewards:

You’re the person workers turn to with their problems. It might be a work-site hazard. Maybe someone’s been fired, or perhaps layoffs are threatened. It might be just a new employee with a question. Perhaps you can solve the problem with a friendly word, or maybe you’ll organize a worksite action or file a grievance. Your Role as a Steward, the Basics.

Solving problems on the job depends far more on the courage and unity of the members. “Grievances should never be confused with your chief responsibility as a steward: to build a united, organized, and involved membership in your workplace.” Your Role as a Steward, in-Depth.

You are the front-line union representative for your co-workers, and they will depend upon you for leadership. When you’re dealing with management on union business, you deal with the employer as an equal. Download the complete SEIU Steward’s Manual.

Different problems require different strategies. Sometimes grievances involving an individual member’s indiscretion-lateness, absence, errors in judgment — requires you to respect the person’s privacy. Other grievances require informing and involving the entire membership.  Rights, Procedures and Best Practices, Disputes and Grievances.

Weingarten was a U.S. Supreme Court case that gave workers the right to have a steward present in some circumstances “when a supervisor asks for information that could be used as a basis for discipline.” It’s important to remind your members about their Weingarten rights now and then: Workers should always request a steward if a meeting could lead to discipline. The nurse should ALWAYS ask: “If this discussion could in any way lead to my being disciplined or terminated, or affect my personal working conditions, I respectfully request that my union representative be present.”

The National Labor Relations Act forbids employers from interfering with, restraining, or coercing employees in the exercise of rights relating to organizing, forming, joining or assisting a labor organization for collective bargaining purposes, or from working together to improve terms and conditions of employment, or refraining from any such activity. National Labor Relations Board.

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