Local 7600 Trains New Assistant Grievance Reps

The members of Local 7600 now have a group of about 40 new union leaders following an intensive two-day training session for assistant grievance representatives.

The Southern California local, in conjunction with the USW education and strategic campaigns departments, held a combination of in-person and virtual training sessions for the group focusing on topics such as Local Union 101, steward basics, alliance orientation and building power.

“The building power program focuses on what I think are the fundamentals of what we need to do to make the local union stronger,” said EKG technician Joel Maya, a contract specialist who handles communications for the local. “It helps us communicate better with the membership through our CAT team. We’ve been getting our message out there a lot better and more efficiently.”

Local 7600 represents more than 7,500 health care and service workers at Kaiser Permanente facilities in the Inland Empire and Riverside regions of Southern California. Local 7600 bargains jointly as part of an alliance of 22 local unions representing about 50,000 workers around the country.

The goal of the training program, Maya said, was to have an assistant grievance rep in every department so that the USW’s message is consistent throughout the large local. The membership includes nurses, environmental service workers, phlebotomists, pharmacy technicians, engineers, radiologists, medical assistants and others.

“Knowledge is power,” Maya said. “By strengthening our communications and our education, we’re going to be stronger than ever before. We’re going to need that strength as we go into bargaining in 2021, to make sure our members are united in solidarity.”

Maya, who has worked for Kaiser since 2007, credited Local 7600 President Val Robinson with making sure the training program was a success.

“Val believes in putting the next generation of leaders in place and sharing knowledge,” Maya said. “This was her vision.”

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