Last May, SEIU 521 Steward Raul Carbajal (pictured here with co-workers) knew his managers were disregarding our members’ rights after it was announced that their primary work location would be transferred from Salinas to Greenfield, and then management outright refused to discuss the impacts of their decision. Workers were concerned about management’s expectation that they commute 42 miles to Greenfield on their own time, without additional compensation, and with additional wear and tear on their private vehicles.
Last May, we told Resource Management Agency Director Carl Holm that by refusing to meet, he was acting upon bad advice from HR, and that we would file an unfair practice charge. However, Holm refused to listen. In an e-mail to SEIU 521, HR Representative Margarita Arista wrote, “We did not agree with your assertion and stand by our decision to temporarily transfer employees and…we fully complied with the Unit J MOU.”
The good news is that an attorney for the California Public Employment Relations Board recently concluded that Arista was wrong, and a complaint was issued against the County alleging that such conduct was an unfair practice under the law. The next step will be to attend a settlement conference with county management in Oakland to discuss how to fix the damage that’s been done.
“I became a steward to learn more about our rights,” said Raul. “In my 8 years with the County, we’ve never had an issue like this. We always complete our assignments professionally, but management brings down morale when they refuse to consider how their decisions affect us. By us taking action, we are standing up for our rights.”