We Need Your Help With These Committees in 2020

The following are the Local 2620 committees that we will need your help with:

  • Membership Organizing Committee – Helps grow the Union by collaborating on creative ways to organize potential members
  • Good & Welfare Committee – Recognizes and promotes outstanding members within 2620 and supports our members when in need
  • Communications Committee – Responsible for sending regular communication to our membership as well as maintains social media content
  • Constitution Committee – Reviews 2620 Constitution and suggests changes to our membership
  • Contracting Out Committee – Reduce the States ability to “Contract Out” our work by reviewing and challenging the actual contracts
  • Elections Committee – Conduct our Biennial Election as well as run elections for vacancies within a term
  • Political Action Committee – Make recommendations to the Executive Board regarding Labor Friendly candidates
  • Women’s Committee – Creates avenues and opportunities to engage women within our Union and provides an opportunity to support women causes in general
  • Budget & Finance Committee – Assists in creating budgets and makes financial recommendations to the Executive Board
  • Conservative Caucus – Allows conservatives within our Union to collaborate and contribute to 2620
  • Next Wave Committee – A Committee reserved for members under the age of 40 that creates ways to engage and train our Next Wave of union leadership
  • Policy Committee – Create, amend and review policies that govern our union

If you are interested in serving in one or more of the above mentioned committees, please email President Abdul Johnson at president@afscmelocal2620.org as soon as possible.

Local 2620 Launches Conservative Caucus to Bring Focus to ‘Lunchbox Issues’

Looking to bring a different perspective to the table when it comes to fighting for issues affecting working people, several members of AFSCME Local 2620 recently formed a Conservative Caucus to make sure the conservative voice was included in the local’s work throughout California.

Launching the caucus is a bold move in our state, which is heavily progressive in state and national politics.

But members felt this was long overdue, especially since the local has members in every county of the state and not all of them lean left in their political views.

A big part of forming the group was to remind our union that it “has a responsibility to equally represent its members,” said VeRonica Mundell, a licensed clinical social worker and steward who is chair of the local’s Conservative Caucus.

The caucus held its first meeting in Burbank and brought a number of people together to set their agenda and expand the tent as wide as possible.

Guests included Erin Cruz, a U.S. Congressional candidate, members from the conservative caucuses of AFSCME Council 28 (Washington) and AFSCME Council 75 (Oregon), members from AFSCME Local 10 and members from AFSCME Council 36 in Southern California.

Moving forward, members of Local 2620’s Conservative Caucus agreed that it was important to have a place in our union where the conservative voice can be heard. Most importantly, our sisters and brothers pledged to take a more active role in our union’s political process by supporting candidates that support “lunch box issues,” which include fair pay, a secure retirement, healthcare benefits, preventing outsourcing and a state budget that values working people.

Watch the video to get highlights from the first Conservative Caucus meeting.

Offering Comfort Amidst the Cinders

For most of the country, Nov. 8, 2018, might not stand out the same way it does for social worker Lance Ferris. But for Ferris, who’s based in Chico, that was a day that changed his life and the lives of those in his community forever.

On that day, the worst and most destructive wildfire in California’s history, the Camp Fire, destroyed parts of Chico, nearly all of its neighboring town to the east, Paradise, as well as large swatches of Butte County. It was a day marked by extraordinary devastation and extraordinary, enduring acts of empathy by people like Ferris, a winner of a Never Quit Service Award.

For the past 13 years, Ferris, a member and steward of AFSCME Local 2620, has been the only social worker in an outpatient clinic whose goal is to help parolees leaving the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation transition back into society. It’s a job that requires skill, focus and a deep well of empathy every day. And as the only clinical person in his office, it’s a role that can be isolating.

“I work on behalf of folks who have been incarcerated who are reintegrating into the community,” says Ferris. “(Their crimes) could be anything that’s low level, or even lifers who are getting out of prison. I provide individual and group therapy and case management services.”

No matter who his clients are or what their crimes might have been, Ferris approaches each with the same professionalism and clinical poise.

“How I feel about their offense is off the table when I’m working,” says the Brooklyn native. “I’ve always been able to create a space for people to have real therapy. That’s been the core of the work I do. That’s my training, who I am, and what I’m committed to. I work very hard at it.”

Ferris has been involved in his community for many years, counseling patients in a private practice he runs in addition to his job at the Department of Corrections and facilitating yoga and cycling classes as well. Despite being a college town, this semi-rural region of Northern California lacks for many of the resources you’d see in larger cities. It’s a place where residents, many of whom are retirees, prize their independence and can live a life off the grid.

But when the Camp Fire ripped through his community, leaving almost 90 people dead, destroying tens of thousands of structures and leaving tens of thousands more homeless, the trauma that permeated the area’s residents meant they needed to come together quickly.

“We’ve never seen anything like this,” says Ferris. “I’ve never seen this level of trauma.”

It was a community full of neighbors who’d lost loved ones or whose loved ones were missing; people whose homes and lives had been destroyed; a community wiped out; and first responders grappling with doing their jobs yet stunned by the horrors they’d seen.

Faced with an unprecedented crisis, Ferris did what he knew how to do best: he counseled people.

“I made myself available to do trauma work,” said Ferris, who was uniquely qualified to address many of the crises his fellow residents and first responders were experiencing. “I do a very special intervention called ‘Brainspotting.’ It has a great efficacy in reducing primary and second trauma with survivors of natural disasters.”

In the days, weeks and months to come after the fire, Ferris found himself holding counseling sessions for community members in need at his office or elsewhere throughout the town. Whether it was someone who’d become homeless after the fire, or someone who’d lost a pet, Ferris used his broad set of clinical skills to try to comfort the person sitting across from him.

“Suddenly, you saw folks who’d wanted to live a quiet life off the grid needing help,” he said.

Ferris said that the gyms where he taught yoga were now filled with people who’d come down from Paradise with nowhere else to go. While the trauma his clients faced after the fire differed from the parolees he counseled, the attention he paid to them and his rigorous approach to their therapy remained the same.

“If you take a look a trauma, there was the initial impact of the fire, but now they are rebuilding their lives. People are being triggered off the wall. It’s big,” said Ferris.

In nominating Ferris for the Never Quit Award, fellow Local 2620 member Deanna Stilwell wrote that Ferris’ job is challenging as it is. After the Camp Fire, “Lance immediately went into high gear, where he continues to give extraordinary care on a daily basis to a vulnerable population whose lives were turned upside down in seconds,” Stilwell wrote.

Nine months later, life still isn’t back to normal in the region. Much of the area in Butte County that the fire had torn through is still in ruins. While the rest of the country has moved on, Ferris and his neighbors haven’t. He’s returned to work now, resumed his life, but there are no pat endings to his community’s story.

“The aftermath was frightening for months. The impact has been huge,” said Ferris. “Where do you land? I still don’t have the answer.”

Despite Janus, Local 2620 Adds More Members With Organizing Drive

Local 2620 members at an organizing drive in Napa

As a statewide local, AFSCME Local 2620 knows it can be tough to reach all its members.

Because of the distance and the number of different jobs that members perform, it can be especially difficult for some members to feel like their voices are truly being heard, especially at the negotiating table.

That’s why Local 2620 fanned out throughout Northern California this fall for a member organizing drive to make sure our sisters and brothers understood the importance of being involved in the union.

“Without people starting to be more involved, the Freedom Foundation and other organizations like that win,” said Eric Young, AFSCME Local 2620 Southern Vice President. “But once you explain the impact and that you lose things that the union has fought for when you’re not engaged, then people understand why it’s important to stick with the union.”

Over the course of two weeks, leaders visited worksites from Stockton to Sacramento to talk to members and encourage them to recommit to our union. Leaders also took the opportunity to get feedback for the local’s contract negotiations in 2020.

“Instead of waiting until our contract is over, we wanted to engage our members on the issues that matter the most to them and build a solid campaign early so that we can win for all our members at the negotiating table,” Local 2620 President Abdul Johnson said.

Overall, Local 2620 got more than 200 commitments to the union, including several dozen from new members.

Ryan Enderle, a Pharmacist at Napa State Hospital, said he decided to step up and help with the organizing drive because he saw the effort as an opportunity for rank-and-file members to represent themselves at the negotiating table and at their workplaces.

“This is how we show the state that they need to listen to AFSCME Local 2620,” Enderle said. “If we go to the negotiating table with a strong membership and they see that AFSCME really does represent the members, that’s how we get the chance to really push for what we want instead of getting pushed around by the state.”

Local 2620 will now take the feedback gathered from the organizing drive to plan its next contract campaign. For its last contract, leaders won an 11.5% general salary increase over four years as well as a number of other benefits and salary adjustments.

Protest regarding Patton State Hospital Facility Chief Steward Election

(The following message was emailed to membership email addresses on file via Constant Contact on November  2 at 6:30am)
There was a protest filed regarding the Facility Chief Steward election for Patton State Hospital.
Two members reported that they were sent incorrect ballots and did not receive the correct ballots in a timely manner and therefore were not provided with an opportunity to vote.
Based on these reports, the Election Committee has upheld the protest and a new election must be conducted for the affected Members.
The ballots will be sent via postal mail based on the timelines listed in the last runoff ballot.
Patton State Hospital members, please stay tuned for more information regarding this.
Thank you

Observer and Election Info! (Patton State Hospital)

Hello Patton State Hospital Members,
The Election Committee will be on-site on Thursday, July 12, 2018, for a special election to fill your Facility Chief Steward position.  The election will be held in the Canteen from 12:00 PM until 1:00 PM.
If you are a candidate and would like to have an observer, please let the Election Committee know via email at elections@afscmelocal2620.org
no later than 5:00 PM on Wednesday, July 11, 2018.  The observer needs to be a member in good standing for at least 6 months prior to the election. The observer “must bring identification.”  We will begin the count at 1:00 PM or as soon as the last person in line has completed their ballot, whichever is later.  Any observer needs to be there at the time the count begins.

CDCR Meet and Confer Regarding ‘Non-Designated’ Yards

As many of you are aware, CDCR is in the process of implementing “Non-Designated” yards at several prisons throughout the state.
Click the following link for more information:
AFSCME Local 2620 will be engaged in a Meet & Confer with California Correctional Health Care Services (CCHCS) to discuss our concerns and to mitigate the impact to our members working throughout CDCR.
It is the opinion of CCHCS that this change DOES NOT impact BU19 members and therefore did not notice us prior to implementation. AFSCME Local 2620 vehemently disagrees with CCHCS and have demanded the right to meet over the changes. We are now scheduled to meet on June 19, 2018.
We are soliciting feedback from all CDCR BU19 members. Please send information to President Abdul Johnson at president@afscmelocal2620.org no later than June 15, 2018, regarding how this change will affect your working conditions and safety.
In Unity,
Abdul Johnson
President – AFSCME Local 2620
Vice President – AFSCME Council 57
2550 N. Hollywood Way, Suite 209
Burbank, CA 91505
(213) 952-4420

Patton State Hospital Members: Call for Nominations!!!

Hello Patton State Hospital Members,
The Election Committee has met and we are working on the election for your Facility Chief Steward position. You will soon be receiving a Call for Nominations in your mail.
In Unity,
Your Elections Committee:
Lenaea Sanders, Chair, Northern Region
Dan Duru, Central Region
Rene` Eller, Central Region
Foresteen Forbes, Southern Region
Cathy Sapata, Northern Region