Santa Cruz County members ratify contract

Santa Cruz County members ratified their contract on July 8 with about 80% YES votes.

Faced with a $14 million county deficit — and approximately 80 jobs on the chopping block — the Bargaining Team worked hard to protect healthcare, save as many jobs as possible, and ensure that workers didn’t have to contribute more than their fair share to balance the budget.

The result is a two-year contract (Sept. 11, 2011 – Sept. 10, 2013) that lessened healthcare increases, minimized layoffs to only 25, and maintained our right to bargain over furloughs.

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“I’m amazed at what an incredible job the Negotiation Team did facing the county’s original offer to wipe out the benefits that we worked so hard to achieve,” said Susan Kauffman, County Planner, after casting her vote July 8. “I’m thrilled with what the Negotiation Team accomplished in these very difficult economic times. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to do furloughs and AVTO to reduce layoffs.”

The settlement was reached after a 24-hour bargaining marathon.

“In these hard times, this is a good contract,” Joyce Passow, Records Clerk, who dropped in to vote Friday morning. “I really feel by voting YES we show the public we’re willing to work with the Board of Supervisors and willing to do our part, but we’re not going to bear the brunt or shoulder the whole burden, either. I believe it’s a fair compromise.”

Voting was held from July 6 – 8 at multiple locations from Santa Cruz to Watsonville. 

Chapter President Veronica Rodriguez thanked the Bargaining Team members for their hard work and commitment.

“I want to thank the Negotiation Team because they really represented our members and fought really hard to minimize layoffs and protect community services,” she said. “They are very dedicated to their jobs, to their community, and to our members.”

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