Workplace Bullying Report

This column appears in the May 29 – June 5 edition of the Hartford  News…This week we’ll share the SEIU Local 1000 http://seiu1000.org/ report on their victory in the global war on workplace bullying. As we reported last week, in 2013 SEIU successfully negotiated to have abusive workplace conduct added as an issue covered under grievances by California state workers. The AFSCME Local 318 Safe Workplace Committee here in Connecticut http://www.council4.org/local318/  is discussing strategy to get similar language added to the new contract in 2015, and appoint an independent arbitrator to hear grievances. AFSCME union steward John Hollis has submitted a Freedom of Information request for the outcome of grievances filed by state employee unions during the past ten years. The Community Party is talking with current and former state workers about how to address the prohibitive costs employees face when they file a lawsuit. Employers count on workers being unable to initiate or maintain legal action, due to a lack of financial resources. Stay tuned for updates. We’ll also share posts from Cornell Lewis’ DCF Plantation blog.  http://dcfplantation.blogspot.com/

 
 
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Dignity Clause Strengthened

Members can now file grievance over dignity violations
sophia_perkins_web.png
Under our new contract, members have more rights when it comes to workplace bullying or other violations of the dignity clause.
 
Our bargaining team succeeded in obtaining language that strengthens the Dignity Clause (Article 5.11) so that employees who believe they have not been treated with generally accepted standards of dignity and human courtesy may now file a grievance. Previously, members could only file a complaint of dignity clause violations to their department head.
 
In addition, our new contract requires each state department to maintain a Workplace Violence and Bullying Prevention policy and distribute it to each employee.
 
“We fought for the strongest possible protections for our members who experience workplace bullying–I know firsthand how a bully boss can create a nightmare for you at work,” said Sophia Perkins, chair of Bargaining Unit 4, who testified about her own experiences during bargaining. “One reason I became active in the union is to address this issue and hold bullying bosses accountable.”
 
To learn more about the Dignity Clause (Article 5.11) and Workplace Violence and Bullying Prevention (Article 10.21), see the tentative agreements (listed on the SEIU website).
 
If you have experienced workplace bullying or other violations of the dignity clause, call the Member Resource Center at 866.471.SEIU (7348).
 
y, May 10, 2014

STORIES FROM THE HAMILTON STREET PLANTATION

“Never mistake the concessions of the ruling class as benevolence. You have only their fear of us to thank for whatever they give up.”

The stories you are about to read come from three black male employees who work at the DCF Plantation office at 250 Hamilton Street in Hartford, Connecticut. This staff writer believes it is important that people understand how the inner working of certain offices [ plantations ] operate and affect workers.

The first worker is a Case Manager and provides services for DCF clients such as finding resources and transporting in state owned cars. He agreed to meet this DCF blog writer at the corner of Tower and Main Street. We refer to him as Case Manager..CM.

 The CM said that for years he has worked at DCF Hamilton Street plantation and how treatment of employees is disgusting. People in a certain economic bracket [ not upper management ] are considered expendable and men of color are targeted for harsher disciplinary measures. “Work loads for the main line employees is heavy and difficult at times to bear; in many respects that Hamilton Street office is run just like a damn plantation. I want the blog readers to know how terrible it is to work under oppressive conditions of bias / racism; something needs to be done about this.”

The second worker interviewed is a Clinical Worker and also has years of experience at the Hamilton Street plantation. He shall be referred to as CW for this story. We met in a building where a local union was holding a rally for employees.

This CW came to DCF Plantation blog with stories of overwork and racism within his Hamilton Street office. “We [ DCF workers at Hamilton Street ] are expected to carry a case load of clients that allow us a high rating. However, if you reach a 100% per cent full case load, management gives a low rating [ grade of C ]. This means in order to gain a passable grade of B or A clinical workers must work at 150% per cent, this does not leave time for a personal life away from the plantation.”  There is intense pressure for all employees to produce higher client outcomes but this is especially true for CW. This staff writer continued to notice how angry the CW became as he recounted tales of white management racism / bias toward employees of color. However his main bone of contention is how all workers in a certain economic bracket are being abused by uncaring, callous management types. He lamented about lack of racial sensitivity by white management and the acceptance of [ white managers ] abusive treatment of employees of color.

The third worker met DCF blog staff on Park Street to discuss conditions at Hamilton Street. He works in the Investigations Unit seeking to ascertain if complaints of child abuse or neglect are valid. We refer to him as IU in this story.
“I am still working at that damn place [ Hamilton Street ] and conditions are not getting any better.” While looking at IU there seems to be a dark cloud covering his face, maybe it was anger or a sense of helplessness. “Whenever we [employees ] speak up about heavy case loads there is always a backlash of some sort. Damn managers start to examine [ closely ] our time sheets and productivity. They claim this scrutiny is all necessary and part of policy but we know better.” I noticed how IU continued looking at a wrist watch then slowly monitored people walking down the street. I asked him if there was a concern of being discovered about giving information to DCF Plantation blog. His reply to my query is typical of workers on DCF Plantations. “Listen, there are co-workers in cahoots with management over at Hamilton Street, they report anything considered to be of value. You never know who is speaking to the plantation boss.”

In conclusion this staff writer tried to capture the tenor of each conversation in order to give readers insights into struggles at Hamilton Street DCF Plantation.
Thursday, April 24, 2014

GANG VIOLENCE PLACES EMPLOYEES IN DANGER

 
Sources reported to this blog about gang violence at Connecticut Juvenile Training School. At least five Youth Service Officers have been injured [ and out on Workers Compensation ] after altercations between factions of gangs from Bridgeport. Two Units were involved in the fracas, 5C & 6C. Unit 6C was waiting outside to enter the gym, Unit 5C was departing the gym. As both Units passed each other two youth from 6C attacked a resident of Unit 5C. That is when staff intervened and were injured.

These same sources indicate how CJTS in seeking to gain more financial reserves from state and federal government; by allowing older residents (19 – 20 yrs old) to be locked up at that facility. YSOs report housing the older residents is a logistical nightmare and there are no procedures in place in how to handle older and physically bigger residents. Those restraint techniques implemented for youth 12-17 yrs old just do not work for older, more imposing residents. Then there is the element of older gang affiliated youth bringing signs, words and old grudges into the facility. Now five YSOs are injured due to a plan not thought out properly about older youth.

Gang violence places front line staff in danger; administrators are out of danger due to their lack of meaningful interaction with residents. The only time management gets involved is to discipline YSOs for improper restraint procedures or micro-managing actions of staff. Sure is safe in building #1, where administrative gods dwell musing over policies that don’t seem to work.

 
                                                                                                
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Follow CP on Twitter for state, national and global headlines and updates on the status of our Trayvon Martin and Safe Work Environment Acts. https://twitter.com/CommunityParty1  Check out CP’s No Sellout blog for the archive of our Hartford News columns. https://hendu39.wordpress.com/  Listen to WQTQ 89.9 FM for CP’s public service announcements on our racial justice initiatives. https://www.facebook.com/wqtqfm Contact us at 860-206-8879 or info.community.party@gmail.com                   
 
 
Resources    
 
When the Abuser Goes to Work – An Employment Law Blog about Workplace Bullying, Discrimination & Abuse:
 
 
 
DCF Plantation data charts on racist disparities in rates of discipline (including suspensions and terminations) between Black / Latino and white employees. Statistics were obtained through Freedom of Information requests submitted to DCF by Cornell Lewis. Data analysis by Adam Osmond:
 
 
 
Freedom of Information Commission website; includes instructions on how to file an FOI request:
 
 
 
Cornell Lewis Legal Defense Fund:
 
 
 
 
David Samuels
Founder
Community Party

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                                   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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