Members living and working in Contra Costa County have two chances to participate in this messaging training titled: Changing the Narrative.
When: Thursday, April 27, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm, AND repeated
Saturday, April 29, 9:30 am – 1:00 pm
Where: Contra Costa County Labor Council, 1333 PINE STREET, MARTINEZ, CA 94553
What: The California Labor Federation and the Contra Costa Labor Council will offer the Changing the Narrative communications training.This training puts us on the offensive regarding unions, our work, our benefits and place in the community.
Need a response when a relative or member talks trash about unions? You’ll learn it here. Want a response for the reporter who is baiting you to say something off message? You’ll learn it here.
Whether the audience is our family at Thanksgiving Dinner, the press, elected officials, or a member event, this training teaches us how to take control and talk union effectively. Free, but please RSVP to Joe@cclabor.net.
More than 1,100 social workers and eligibility workers conducted a three day strike in Contra Costa County, then voted to extend their ULP Strike to ten days. SEIU 1021 members are protesting Contra Costa County Executives’ campaign of intimidation and threats against workers who have been outspoken about problems at the Employment and Human Services Department.
The Employment and Human Services Department is responsible for the administration of public assistance programs like CalFresh and CalWorks, in addition to child protective services, among many other programs designed to serve the disabled, the elderly, and families in need.
During the course of contract negotiations with the County, social workers and eligibility workers have brought to light multiple issues at the Employment and Human Services Department (EHSD). Workers have informed the public about the County’s loss of $21 Million in federal and state dollars to fund public programs because of Contra Costa County Executives’ failure to fully staff EHSD. County Administrators have threatened and intimidated social workers and eligibility workers who have spoken out on matters that impact Contra Costa residents and public services.
“It’s shameful that County Executives are attacking workers who serve Contra Costa’s most vulnerable and trying to stop our efforts to improve services,” said Dan Jameyson, SEIU 1021 Contra Costa Chapter President and Eligibility Worker on strike. “It’s time County Executives and our Board of Supervisors prioritize services to our community’s most vulnerable.”
Under California law it is illegal for employers to interfere with, intimidate, restrain, coerce or discriminate against public employees because they wish to exercise their right to speak out and improve working conditions. SEIU 1021 filed unfair labor practice charges with the Public Employees Relations Board against the County of Contra Costa in August of this year.
On September 13th Contra Costa County employees confronted the Board of Supervisors and exposed the County’s failure to spend $21 Million dollars to protect children and elderly against abuse, and assist families in need. According to memos from the Employment and Human Services Department Director to the Family and Human Services Committee, the County has failed to spend funds slated for nutritional programs, crime victims assistance and sexually exploited children.
With 10.5% of people in our county living below the poverty line, many of these programs and services provided by county employees are matters of life and death.
“When delays occur in the delivery of public programs, it has devastating consequences. It means someone goes hungry or goes without the health assistance they need. It means someone who’s trying to get the necessary training to get a job misses a life-changing chance. It means a missed opportunity in the fight against poverty in our County,” says Champagne Brown, a Contra Costa County Social Service Program Assistant.
County employees, in a report card evaluating Supervisors’ performance, gave Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors a failing grade based on the following reasons:
• Vacancy rates at the county have reached as high as 40% in some departments causing delays in critical services our communities need. The services range from mental health to support for children and elderly and many other services throughout the county.
• Multiple violent incidences take place every year in front of County facilities, but the safety procedures in place were originally created in 1976 and do not reflect the current day realities when at work in an office or when employees are on house visits.
• Contra Costa has one of the lowest salary and benefit packages in the entire Bay Area. Many employees work two jobs to afford basic necessities and healthcare. Many individuals that remain are forced to access County healthcare services similar to their own clients due to out-of-reach costs.
Contra Costa County employees represented by SEIU 1021 are currently in bargaining to address these serious issues that directly impact their ability to provide quality care to Contra Costa communities. As Contra Costa County EHSD Director Kathy Gallagher’s states in an August 2014 memo to the Family & Human Services Committee: “When we are unable to fill funded positions we forego up to 100% of the Federal/State revenue that had been dedicated to Contra Costa County… We cannot claim funds for vacant positions.”
Protest Demanding Adequate Staffing and Funding of Critical Public Services Follows Less Than a Week after 1,100 County Workers Announce Strike Authorization in Contra Costa
At the Board of Supervisors meeting in Martinez Tuesday, Aug. 16, Contra Costa County social workers and eligibility workers warned the public and the Board about the developing crisis delaying services delivered by the county’s Employee and Human Services Department (EHSD). Workers cited chronic understaffing of social services, including emergency services that protect children and the elderly from abuse and neglect.
“Because County executives and officials refuse to address staffing recruitment and retention, the County’s most vulnerable are suffering,” said Barbara Crespo, a Contra Costa County social worker. “Social workers have been unable to conduct regular house visits for children and the elderly who are at risk for abuse.”
“We shouldn’t have to wait for tragedy to strike before County executives and officials in this County do something about what’s going on at EHSD,” added Dan Jameyson, an eligibility worker responsible for administering CalWORKS and SEIU 1021 Contra Costa County Chapter President. “Families in need of assistance should not have to wait weeks before receiving relief because of County bureaucrats’ inaction.”
Understaffing at EHSD results from Contra Costa County’s failure to address its recruitment and retention crisis. The crisis is creating backlogs of cases, including cases in which the safety of children and the elderly is at risk. Currently there is a 25% vacancy rate for social workers, including a vacancy for the position of foster home recruitment. Positions that administer CalWORKs/Welfare-to-Work programs have close to 40% vacancy rates. (see chart of vacancy rates) The County has known about the issue and its impacts for months, yet the problems persist.
“The impact of the salary and benefits disparities continues to make attracting and retaining skilled and qualified staff a significant challenge,” EHSD Director Kathy Gallagher said in a November 2015 memo to the Board of Supervisors Family and Human Services Committee. In the same memo Gallagher also said that because of inadequate funding the County “continues to struggle with significant backlogs of applications, overdue renewals of eligibility, and excessive wait times for callers” requesting Medi-Cal.
In negotiations with the County workers are proposing terms that would address the recruitment and retention problem, in addition to increasing safety measures at County facilities, including at locations where shootings have occurred in recent months. But three months of talks have made little progress so union workers held a strike authorization vote last week, announcing Thursday, Aug. 11 that 90% voted in favor of the authorization.
Per SEIU 1021 Contra Costa County Chapter Bylaws, this is the 3-Day Notice to Members that a vote to authorize your Bargaining Team to call a strike if necessary will be held from Tuesday, August 2nd to Thursday, August 11th
Article 15, Section C, SEIU 1021 Contra Costa County Chapter Bylaws:
At least three (3) days’ written notice shall be given prior to a meeting at which a strike vote is in order. If a strike vote is rendered, the Chapter shall obtain a sanction from the Local 1021 Executive Board.
Voting times and locations are listed below. You can vote at any voting location. Please note that only SEIU 1021 members can participate in the strike vote. Membership forms will be available at ballot locations.
Tuesday, August 2nd
· 2500 Bates Ave., Concord 94520 11:00 am – 1:30 pm
· 4545/4549 Delta Fair Blvd., Antioch 94509 11:30 am – 1:30 pm
· 1650 Cavallo Rd., Antioch 94509 11:30 am – 1:30 pm
Wednesday, August 3rd
· 300/400/500 Ellinwood Way, Pleasant Hill 94523 11:30 am – 1:30 pm
Thursday, August 4th
· 1305 MacDonald Ave., Richmond 94801 11:30 am – 1:30 pm
· 1275A Hall Ave., Richmond 94804 11:30 am – 1:30 pm
· 151 Linus Pauling, Hercules 94547 11:30 am – 1:30pm
Tuesday, August 9th
· 4071 Port Chicago Hwy., Concord 94520 9:00 am – 10:00 am
· 2600 Stanwell Dr., Concord 94520 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm
· 3105 Willow Pass Rd., Bay Point 94565 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm
· 151 Sand Creek Rd., Brentwood 94513 9:00 am – 10:00 am
Wednesday, August 10
· 1875 Arnold Dr., Martinez 94553 9:00 am – 10:00 am
· 281 Pine St., Brentwood, 94513 9:00 am – 10:00 am
· 595/597 Center Ave., Martinez 94553 9:00 am – 10:00 am
· 1275 A Hall Ave, Richmond 11:30 – 1:30 pm
· 2500 Alhambra Ave., Martinez 94553 11:30 am – 1:30 pm
· 2530 Arnold Dr., Martinez 94553 2:30 pm – 3:30pm
· 40 Douglas Dr., Martinez 94553 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm
Thursday, August 11
· 13601 San Pablo Ave, Richmond 94806 9:00 am – 10:00 am
· 1535 Fred Jackson Way, Richmond 94801 9:00 am – 10:00 am
· 4545/4549 Delta Fair, Antioch 94509 Noon – 1:00 pm
· 2300 El Portal Dr., San Pablo 94806 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm
All members are welcome to the ballot count on Thursday, August 11th at 6:00 pm
It will be held at 420 North Wiget Lane in Walnut Creek.
Have questions about the strike authorization vote? Check out this FAQ!