After Monterey County management illegally threatened to discipline SEIU 521 members in the Animal Services Department if they were caught discussing any employment matters involving other employees, union steward Cathy Stanley and the SEIU 521 Contract Enforcement Department (CED) fought back.
Health Department Manager John Ramirez reaffirmed the directive in another email to staff, adding “[y]our opinions and comments will do little to change my decisions…”
In response, Cathy and SEIU 521 CED together filed an unfair labor practice charge with Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) because management’s threat was essentially an unlawful gag order on union members. Union workers have every right to discuss management actions that affect working conditions and these workers knew it!
On December 10, 2015, Cathy Stanley visited the PERB office in Oakland and and successfully argued for the lifting of the the gag order on Animal Services employees. Click here for the agreement Cathy Stanley signed with the County confirming there is no longer any threat of discipline.
As a result, the County is required to send a clarifying email to all Animal Services employees rescinding the unlawful directive from Ramirez and notifying them that they have a right to discuss any management action that affects wages, hours, or terms and conditions of employment with their union representatives and co-workers.
SEIU 521 members have a Contract Enforcement Department (CED) on their side. CED works with union stewards to protect contracts, defend members facing disciplinary issues, and to advocate for better working conditions through individual and group grievances.