United Public Employees.
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UPE News Item

005 Meet & Confer Update

Cal-Fresh Expansion Update

UPE and DHA met on August 30, 2019, for an update on the impact of the Cal-Fresh Expansion.  DHA provided UPE with data showing a significant increase in applications, lobby visits, and calls since the expansion.  However, the statistics for July showed a decrease in volume compared to the previous month.  To help deal with the impact the Department recently began filling a ‘critical need’ hiring of 20 OAs.  

UPE questioned how the Department chose to allocate positions, and in particular, why some closed lobby bureaus were getting more new OAs than open lobbies.  DHA indicated that decisions were based upon requests made by Program Managers as well as an overall assessment of workload and existing staff at each Bureau.  Division Managers, Renee Lowder and Deborah Burch, both stated that they have made a request to Deputy Director Ethan Dye and Director Ann Edwards for more clerical hires.  However, approval of these positions would depend on finding money in the budget.  

After questioning from UPE, the Department guaranteed that the Cal-Fresh expansion will not impact vacation requests.  Workers should report inappropriate denials to their Business Agent.  

UPE pointed out to DHA that clerical workers are receiving the brunt of client frustration.   This derives from longer wait times due to low staffing and additional clients due to the expansion.  UPE recommended additional training for employees in dealing with the new type of client associated with the Cal-Fresh Expansion.  UPE also asked that the Department share with workers the ways they can deal with clients, either via supervisor, or if necessary, Sheriff/Security.   

UPE will continue to monitor the impact of the Cal-Fresh expansion and advocate on behalf of our members.  

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