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.

AFSCME Sponsored Bills Update

AFSCME Members,

It has been busy for AFSCME at the state capitol; where 2 bills passed the Senate floor and 3 others passed concurrence of amendments in their house of origin. Here are the details:

(click on the bill for more info)

AB 1400 (Kamlager-Dove) Employment Safety: firefighting equipment:mechanics

Yesterday, AFSCME sponsored bill AB 1400 passed the California State Senate with a 35-0 vote. This bill requires the Commission on Health and Safety and Worker’s Compensation to submit a study to the Legislature and the OSHS Board by January 1, 2021. This study will evaluate the risk of exposure to carcinogenic materials and incidence of occupational cancer in mechanics who repair and clean firefighting vehicles in the County of Los Angeles. The bill now heads back to the Assembly for concurrence on Senate amendments.   

SB 591 (Galgiani) Incarcerated persons: mental health evaluations.

Yesterday, AFSCME sponsored bill SB 591 passed concurrence of amendments in the California State Senate. This bill requires that psychologists from the State Department of State Hospitals, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, or the Board of Parole Hearings be given access to a prisoner being temporarily housed at a county correctional facility, a county medical facility, or a state-assigned mental health provider. The bill passed off the floor with a 40-0 vote. It now heads to the Office of Governor Newsom for his signature.  

SB 363 (Pan) Workplace safety

Yesterday, AFSCME sponsored bill SB 363 passed through the California State Senate for the concurrence of amendments made in the Assembly. This bill amends the labor code by adding a requirement for data reporting of assaults on hospital staff. It specifically requires the State Department of Hospitals, the State Department of Developmental Services or the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to report the number of assaults quarterly, to all the state bargaining units at the department.  This bill passed with a 40-0 vote and now heads to Governor Newsom’s desk for his signature.

SB 165 (Atkins) Medical interpretation services.

Yesterday, AFSCME sponsored bill SB 165 passed the California State Senate in concurrence with the amendments made in the Assembly. This bill will require pilot projects of in-person interpretation to run concurrent with the studies conducted, and extends the sunset date on the bill to July 1, 2024. The bill also requires the Department of Health Care Services to expend $5 million for the pilot projects. The purpose of the studies is to evaluate whether disparities can be reduced with LEP Medi-Cal beneficiaries by using in-person medical interpretation services.   This bill passed with a 40-0 vote and now heads to Governor Newsom’s desk for his signature.

AB 314 (Bonta) Public Employment: labor relations: release time.

Yesterday, AFSCME sponsored bill AB 314 passed the California State Senate with a 27-11 vote. This bill requires employers to grant a reasonable number of employee designated representatives reasonable time off without loss of compensation or other benefits for specified activities. This bill now heads back to its house of origin for the concurrence of amendments made in the Senate.

‘Being in a Union Is Huge’

“To me, being in a union is huge,” says Shukimba Carlis, a licensed clinical social worker at Napa State Hospital in Napa, Calif. “If I weren’t, I wouldn’t know where to go to

Shukimba Carlis

have my issues heard.” Carlis is a member of Local 2620 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).

Local 2620 represents about 5,000 health and social services professionals throughout California, including psychologists, rehabilitation therapists, pharmacists, radiologists and individuals in other healthcare-related disciplines. (Local 2620 Webmaster edit: We do not represent radiologists)

“Being in the union means I am being treated fairly,” says Carlis, 45. “We have collective bargaining and we have a contract that states our rights and our recourses, which include filing grievances and negotiating our pay and our retirement benefits.”

As a facility chief steward for her hospital, Carlis meets with stewards and business agents from unions representing nurses and other workers, and she meets with management to discuss workers’ concerns. She also educates employees who are curious about the role of the union.

“I explain that being in the union brings us together to work for fair wages, better benefits and better staffing levels, which makes the workforce stronger. There is power in numbers and in standing up for what you believe.”

Full article HERE

CalPERS Announces Candidate Forum for 2019 Board Election

Two Retired Member Candidates to Speak

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – CalPERS members are invited to attend the CalPERS Board of Administration Candidate Forum on Tuesday, September 10.

The forum will be moderated by the League of Women Voters, and will be held in the CalPERS Auditorium, 400 P Street, Sacramento, from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. For those who can’t attend in person, the forum will be streamed live on our website, where it will also be posted for later viewing.

Ballots will be mailed August 30 and votes must be received by September 30. Only eligible retired members will be able to vote, using one of three convenient voting methods: Online, by phone, or by mail.

The candidates for the retired member position invited to speak at the forum are:

  • Henry Jones, Incumbent
  • Joseph “JJ” Jelincic, Retired investment officer

The newly elected board member will begin his term January 16, 2020.

The 13-member CalPERS Board of Administration sets policy for retirement and health benefits on behalf of California public employers, and their active and retired employees. The board also oversees asset allocation of the pension fund’s investments. Under the California Constitution, the CalPERS Board has exclusive authority to administer the CalPERS Pension Fund.

Information on the upcoming board election and resources for members is available on our Board Elections page.

About CalPERS

For more than eight decades, CalPERS has built retirement and health security for state, school, and public agency members who invest their lifework in public service. Our pension fund serves more than 1.9 million members in the CalPERS retirement system and administers benefits for more than 1.5 million members and their families in our health program, making us the largest defined-benefit public pension in the U.S. CalPERS’ total fund market value currently stands at approximately $376 billion. For more information, visit www.calpers.ca.gov.

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.”

CalPERS Reports Preliminary 6.7 Percent Investment Return for Fiscal Year 2018-19

Sacramento, Calif. – CalPERS today reported a preliminary 6.7 percent net return on investments for the 12-month period that ended June 30, 2019. CalPERS assets at the end of the fiscal year stood at more than $370 billion.

Drivers of the return included the Fixed Income program, which generated a 9.6 percent net return, followed by Private Equity and Public Equity net returns of 7.7 percent and 6.1 percent returns respectively.

Based on these preliminary fiscal year returns, the funded status of the overall CalPERS fund is an estimated 70 percent, down less than a percentage point from fiscal year 2017-18. This estimate is based on a 7 percent discount rate.

“This was a very volatile year for financial markets, but I’m pleased with how we focused on the performance of the total fund,” said Yu (Ben) Meng, CalPERS Chief Investment Officer.

“We saw good returns in several key areas. Our long duration fixed income portfolio contributed positively as interest rates fell. And we are pleased with the outcome of some allocation changes made during the year, which we estimate contributed 70 basis points to fund performance.

“While we did not achieve our 7 percent actuarial return target this fiscal year, I can’t stress strongly enough that we are long-term investors. We make decisions based on an investment horizon that stretches across years and even decades. That’s our focus, and we will continue to analyze all aspects of our portfolio to see how we can generate higher risk-adjusted total returns for our members.”

This year’s return brings total fund performance to 5.8 percent for the five-year time period, 9.1 percent for the 10-year time period, and 5.8 percent for the 20 -year time period. Over the past 30 years, the CalPERS fund has returned an average of 8.1 percent annually.

Today’s announcement includes asset class performance as follows:

Net Rate of Return

Total Fund 6.7%

Public Equity 6.1%

Private Equity 7.7%

Fixed Income 9.6%

Real Assets 3.7%

Liquidity 2.6%

Returns for real estate and private equity reflect market values through March 31, 2019.

CalPERS’ 2018-19 final fiscal year investment performance will be calculated based on audited figures and will be reflected in contribution levels for the State of California and school districts in Fiscal Year 2020-21, and for contracting cities, counties, and special districts in Fiscal Year 2021-22.

The ending value of the CalPERS fund is based on several factors and not investment performance alone. Contributions made to CalPERS from employers and employees, monthly payments made to retirees, and the performance of its investments, among other factors, all influence the ending total value of the Fund.

About CalPERS

For more than eight decades, CalPERS has built retirement and health security for state, school, and public agency members who invest their lifework in public service. Our pension fund serves more than 1.9 million members in the CalPERS retirement system and the Public Employee Retirement Fund market value currently stands at approximately $373billion making us the largest defined-benefit public pension in the U.S. Additionally, we administer benefits for more than 1.4 million members and their families in our health program. For more information, visit www.calpers.ca.gov

California prison guards can’t sue state for time spent walking to their posts, court rules

The California Supreme Court on Monday rejected most of an 11-year-old lawsuit in which tens of thousands of California state prison guards sought additional pay for work-related tasks they performed before and after their shifts.

Supreme Court Decision Walk

The decision greatly reduces the number of correctional officers who can pursue overtime claims against the state for work they carry out before reaching their posts inside California state prisons, such as retrieving weapons and moving through controlled check points.

The state Supreme Court’s 5-2 decision held that rank-and-file prison guards represented by the California Correctional Peace Officers Association cannot sue the state for additional compensation.

Their contract already provides them some pay – four hours a month – to compensate them for time they spend inside prisons with their gear moving to and from their posts.

The court, however, is allowing correctional supervisors who are not represented by a union to proceed with their part of the lawsuit.

The court says correctional sergeants and lieutenants can sue to argue they should be compensated for “duty-integrated walk time,” which refers to the time they spend in the prison after they retrieve equipment.

That leaves about 5,000 current and former correctional officers in the case, down from about 40,000, according to attorneys for the correctional officers.

The decision disappointed union advocates who contended that prison guards are effectively under the state’s control as soon as they enter a facility and should be paid for the time they spend on site.

“They’re doing a whole series of things that ordinary people don’t have to do as they walk to their workplace and they’re doing it in the most controlled environment in the state,” said Gregg McLean Adam, the lead attorney in the class action lawsuit.

The lawsuit dates to 2007, when the state imposed working conditions on CCPOA in a contract impasse. Correctional officers in a 2008 lawsuit argued the state had breached its contract, and they were compelled to work “off the clock.”

Similar lawsuits followed in 2009 and 2010 before a 2013 trial in San Francisco Superior Court.

The CCPOA contract calls for correctional officers to work 168 hours a month, four hours of which are meant to compensate them for time they spend in prisons preparing for their shifts, according to the court decision.

Sergeants and supervisors do not get that compensation. If they win it through the lawsuit, thousands of sergeants and lieutenants could receive wages dating back to 2007, said Gary Goyette, an attorney who is representing correctional supervisors.

He said witnesses during the trial said correctional supervisors typically go unpaid for some time each shift after they retrieve gear but before they check into their posts.

“We’re in strong position to recover” wages for that time, Goyette said.

Supreme Court Decision Walk