Together is better. Jody Bell and Debb Jachens, who work in CSEA’s Member Benefits Department, are proving it. In 2013, they partnered with Kaiser Permanente’s labor-management partnership to support union members and encourage them to live healthier lives. As a result, CSEA launched a wellness champion program that promotes programs and policies for healthy eating and physical activity in all of their major conferences and meetings. Additionally, they have collaborated with Kaiser Permanente on trainings for school food service employees, so everyone could learn more about Smarter Lunchroom practices.
Through trial and error, these two women introduced new union approaches to wellness, connecting union leaders with school district administration and Kaiser Permanente resources at every level. Now, CSEA designates union representatives who work with members to increase support for and participation in school wellness policies. These union advocates connect with one another, spread information and discuss issues at union meetings to maximize support for school wellness in several California districts, including Pittsburg Unified and San Diego Unified. Thanks to Bell’s and Jachen’s efforts school employee wellness throughout California is gaining momentum and won’t slow down any time soon. The true success comes from working directly with a CSEA members in partnership. Arlene Cristobal is working directly with Jody and Debb to make wellness union business.