521 members successfully helped protect services by pushing to end extravagant cash-outs for San Benito County executive management.
In order to protect our community services, 521 members fought to end $100,000 vacation cash-outs and other costly perks for top county officials.
Over the objections of county management, the Board of Supervisors voted on April 3 to support responsible reform by capping vacation cash-outs for executives.
“This win demonstrates the power we can build and the achievements we can make when we work together, but we cannot to stop here. If everyone does just a small piece and contributes to the work we are doing, we will be much more successful and ready to respond to the challenges that are coming our way. There’s a role for everyone and I encourage all workers to get involved in their union.”
— Denise Quintana, Chapter Vice President
521 county workers raised the elimination of uncapped vacation cash-outs and other costly perks as potential cost-savings during the Board of Supervisors special budget meeting in February. Since then, workers have submitted a county resolution addressing this issue; testified at Board of Supervisors meetings; signed letters of support; and passed out community flyers.
“Thank you for placing this item on the agenda,” said Martha Booker, SEIU 521 San Benito County Chapter President, at the April 3 meeting. “For over 10 years, our members have raised the issues of inequity and cost associated with uncapped vacation cash-outs for unrepresented employees. You have taken leadership by recognizing the issue is real and needs to be resolved.”
Our efforts were successful. On April 3, the board voted unanimously to:
- Institute a freeze on the current vacation accruals for county executives, starting June 2012.
- Create a new, separate vacation account for executives which caps their vacation at two times their regular vacation accrual. So if an executive earns 12 days of vacation a year, her vacation will be capped at 24 days.
- Executives will need to deplete their old vacation accounts down to a certain level by July 2014.
Supervisor Robert Rivas wanted to remove the depletion target date of July 2014, but the board’s majority vote was to keep the date as is. Rivas then recommended that the county administrative officer update the board every six months over the implementation process.
Come to the membership meeting
Monday, April 9, 5:30 p.m.
San Benito County Free Library, 470 5th St., Hollister
On the agenda:
- Budget cuts
- Important upcoming elections
- Contract status
- Next steps