The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

October 22, 2012
Unions remember state hospital employee killed two years ago

Thumbnail image for 121022 Donna Gross.JPGA union coalition of state hospital employees has scheduled observances around the state on Tuesday to remember Donna Gross, a psychiatric technican killed while on duty.

Locations for the 6 p.m. memorials include Napa State Hospital, where Gross worked. The events mark the two-year anniversary of her death at the hands of patient Jess Willard Massey. Massey is serving a 25 years-to-life sentence for the crime.

The 54-year-old's murder gave momentum to calls for heightened security at state mental hospitals and fostered the Safety Now! coalition. The group includes five unions with members working in California's mental hospitals: the American Federation of State County & Municipal Employees Local 2620, Service Employees International Union Local 1000, the California Association of Psychiatric Technicians, the Union of America Physicians & Dentists and the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association.

Here's more information about the statewide memorials.

PHOTO: Donna Gross / courtesy California Association of Psychiatric Technicians

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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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