The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

November 25, 2008
SEIU says state 'refuses' to talk with union lawyers in the room, DPA responds

Contract talks between the state and three bargaining units represented by SEIU Local 1000 didn't go anywhere Friday when union attorneys showed up for the last day of negotiations until after the holidays.

The union's take, as presented in this statement Monday afternoon on its Web site and e-mailed to members:

Our new policy of staffing each bargaining table with a Local 1000 attorney drew resistance from state negotiators last week ...

The state's walk-out kept our team from presenting testimony from two licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) about the need for a post and bid shifts in the prison system. Two LVNs from different prisons traveled to Sacramento to talk about post and bid.

"There was a heated exchange of words and then they walked out of bargaining," Unit 20 Chair Rionna Jones said. "We had hoped to show their team the importance of post and bid. Now that will have to wait until January."

We asked DPA's Lynelle Jolley to give us the Personnel Administration's take on what happened:

We think it's fine to have attorneys present at the negotiations. Once we learned that attorneys would be present for the union, we needed to make arrangements for the State to have legal counsel present as well. Even though these discussions are frustrating for both sides, we've never refused to negotiate. We still believe in bargaining, especially during tough times like we're facing now.

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


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