Year-End Bargaining Update
Where We Are Now
As we head into the holiday season, your elected SEIU 1021 bargaining team wants to provide you a comprehensive update on contract negotiations.
The last bargaining session before the holiday took place on December 20th. We will meet again with management on January 5th. We want everyone to have a relaxing and enjoyable holiday break with friends and family because when we resume negotiations in 2023, we are going to have to fight for a fair contract that helps County workers and residents.
Your elected bargaining team first met with Alameda County management on July 27th, 2022. Since then we have met 17 times with management, held four caucus days when our team met without management to draft proposals together, and met with management for two full days to make equity presentations, showing how our workers are compensated less well than comparable workers in nearby areas.
During bargaining, your elected bargaining team has passed 31 proposals to management. Each proposal passed has been crafted specifically to address the recruitment and retention problem that has left the County with a vacancy rate over 25%. This staffing crisis hurts workers and County residents alike. Vacant positions put more work on the shoulders of union members, increasing burnout and stress, and destroying morale. Additionally, every vacancy represents a failure of the County to meet the needs of County residents who depend on services.
Proposals passed by your elected bargaining team include:
- Wage increases that keep up with skyrocketing inflation and remain competitive with other Bay Area Counties and Cities
- Longevity pay to increase workers retention and show appreciation for long-tenured workers
- A telework policy that matches the reality of modern work and helps recruitment and retention by helping work/life balance
- Addressing caseload standards to protect workers from drowning in work
- Increasing educational stipends and establishing reimbursements for licenses and certifications to help retain workers by showing a financial commitment to their professional advancement
- Creating a policy to provide guidance on how workers can protect themselves from unsafe work conditions and on-the-job harassment
- Increasing premiums for standby pay, shift differentials, and bilingual work to help recruit and retain workers to take on challenging assignments
- Limiting the ability of departments to establish vacation blackouts that damage morale and increase burnout by forcing workers to miss important holidays and family events
- Establishing multiple Labor-Management-Team (LMT) meetings to allow workers and departments to collaborate on important issues
- And many more
Your elected bargaining team is taking a broad, creative approach in these proposals. Our goal is to make Alameda County a great place for a fulfilling career.
On the other side of the table, Alameda County management has consistently insisted that everything is fine, acting as though the status quo is working perfectly for workers and residents alike. When we’ve raised our issues, we have frequently found management condescending and dismissive.
Management has passed 28 proposals, but 23 of them have been simple contract cleanup proposals. These cleanup proposals make no substantive changes to wages, benefits, or working conditions, and simply add parenthetical citations, rearrange sections, or remove gender-specific language.
Management has made only five substantive proposals in the months of negotiation. They are:
- Making you pay more for healthcare
- Implementing a vacation hard cap for all workers, eliminating the ability to exceed the vacation cap during the course of the year
- Restricting your ability to take bereavement leave
- Eliminating your ability to file a grievance over discrimination claims and forcing workers exclusively into an internal County process.
- Removing a hard cap of $500 for reimbursement to personal vehicle damage, which we have signed a Tentative Agreement on
Meanwhile, in response to union proposals they have:
- Offered wage increases that, over three years, are lower than the cost-of-living increase in 2022 alone
- REJECTED longevity pay
- REJECTED establishing a telework policy
- REJECTED addressing caseload standards
- REJECTED increasing educational stipend amounts and reimbursements for licenses and certifications
- REJECTED a policy on the right to refuse unsafe work
- And many more
Your bargaining team is going to continue to fight for a fair contract that addresses the recruitment and retention crisis in the County, but we can’t do it alone. We need all our members to get involved!
There are many ways to get involved.
- Wear your purple every Tuesday
- Sign up to join the Contract Action Team (CAT): the CAT meets every Tuesday to plan union actions and communications
- Work with your chapter officers to plan and participate in worksite actions, petitions, and picket lines
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