Tulare County began bargaining with a very noticeable change of attitude, starting with an opening offer that begins to keep the promises they made in 2009. Finally they are acting like they intend to work together with us to make an agreement.
THE OPENING PROPOSAL
The Good News…
- Reinstatement of all merit steps and flexibly staffed promotions that were not implemented since August 2009.
- Hundreds of members will immediately receive a 5, 10 or even 20 percent raise in wages, depending on their steps and anniversary dates. The new wages would begin the last pay period in July (pay period 17).
This is a giant breakthrough… long awaited and long deserved!
The Bad News…
- The county is still refusing to admit that all of this should have happened one year ago, so everybody misses out on those increases for 26 pay periods. Some people have retired with lower pensions, quit in frustration or left for better positions, without the raises our agreement guaranteed to them.
- The proposal continues the five furlough days a year, even though we know that furloughs do not save money, only cut workers’ wages and cut services to our community. The proposal locks in those furloughs for the next two years.
- The county has insisted that this first proposal is a take-it-or-leave-it “package proposal.” They say we have to agree to the whole proposal, which also includes some minor changes* in overtime, on-call pay, mileage reimbursement and no improvements in health insurance, workers’ rights, sick leave buyback or binding arbitration.
(*a scan of the county’s offer is available here.)
So now what?
- We have served the county with our lawsuit and have a hearing this month with PERB to win back the lost steps. Even if we agree to their proposal we could still succeed in winning retroactive pay for the missing year. (Ask your office CAT or union rep how you can attend these hearings.)
- We are also preparing a response to the county’s offer with a comprehensive proposal of our own. We can talk about other issues before agreeing to the county’s offer. There are items in our contract which should be fixed to improve your rights at work.
- There is also the concern about how we can win some benefit for the members who are at the top step and will see nothing from the county’s opening proposal. We want this new contract to improve conditions for them as well.
- As we head to 2014 and changes to our health care system, we want to ensure that our contract is flexible in providing the best possible benefits to our members.
What can you do?
Come to the next CAT meeting on Monday, May 14, at 6 p.m. at the SEIU 521 office in Visalia. This will be your chance to help the bargaining team figure out what you like, what you don’t like, and what could make this offer better. Please RSVP if you are attending at (559) 635-3727.
Contact your bargaining team members:
Unit 1 – Stephanie Souza, Assessor/Recorder’s office (Courthouse) – (559) 636-5106
Unit 3 – Mark Araiza, Child Support Services (Visalia) – (559) 713-8554
Unit 4 – Bryan “Ty” Inman, TulareWORKS (Porterville) – (559) 788-1550
Unit 6 – Janet Baker, California Children’s Services (Tulare) – (559) 685-5833
Unit 7 – Rick Holmes, IT Services (Government Plaza) – (559) 636-4854