It Pays to Be Bilingual

Steward Cecilia Chavez on the left, Zulema Gonzalez on the right.

Steward Cecilia Chavez on the left, Zulema Gonzalez on the right.

Congratulations to Zulema Gonzalez, SEIU Member at Monterey County Behavioral Health, who was recently awarded back wages for not receiving Bilingual Skill Pay that she was entitled to under our MOU for Unit K. As a Psychiatric Social Worker, Zulema is often required to use her bilingual skills in order to communicate with the County’s Spanish-speaking clients. Management was aware of this but did not inform Zulema that she was eligible for additional compensation under our contract.

Zulema and her steward, Cecilia Chavez, worked with our Contract Enforcement Department to file a grievance. After meeting with Health Department Director Elsa Jimenez, county management decided to recognize the important bilingual services Zulema has and continues to provide their clients.

“I am extremely happy about the final decision,” said Zulema. “I really appreciate the advocacy of my steward, Contract Enforcement for educating me on the proper steps to take, and management for doing the right thing.”


In Monterey County, if you use your bilingual skills for more than 33% of your total work time, you may be eligible to receive a bilingual differential of $1.00 per hour under Section 8.4 of our Unit K contract. Other bargaining units also have bilingual pay provisions. Consult your applicable MOU for more information, or call our Contract Enforcement Department.

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