Earlier this year, SEIU 521 Kern County members won a new contract that allowed members to opt-out of the Retiree Health Supplement Plan (RHSP). Under the old contract, all members who met certain conditions were required to contribute 2.12% of their salary to the plan and yet many would never see a benefit. Thanks to the hard work of our bargaining team, about 2,500 SEIU-represented employees have opted out of the plan and have their money back. This is a huge win for SEIU members!
“We fought hard for this and now 2,500 working families have more money in their pockets every month. It’s just another benefit that comes from standing strong together.” – Jessie Sepulveda, Groundskeeper III with Parks and Recreation.
In addition to the money coming back in every paycheck, those who opted out will also get a lump sum in a health savings account when they retire. This account can be used for any qualified medical expenses and has a lot more flexibility than the RHSP plan. For people who started with the county after 2007, there is also an option to move that money into a retirement fund with county matching.
“This is a solid win from the last contract we voted for. We effectively got a 2 percent raise for hard-working county workers.” – Eric England, Programmer II with the Auditor-Controller.
Our last contract battle was long and difficult, but we made real gains by sticking together. When we started bargaining, the county offered nothing but takeaways. With union resources and strong local leaders, we achieved real economic gains.
Our next round of contract bargaining will be here before we know it, and we need to continue building membership and increasing our political power every day. If you’re not a member yet, sign up today and pledge to be more involved for our next contract.