San Benito County: July 20 and 24 Bargaining Update


A message from your Bargaining Team:

First of all we would like to say thank you to everyone for showing up at the Unity Rally on Tuesday and as always thanks to the SEIU Staff for the support! (And the sandwiches! They were delicious!!) Check out photos and video from the rally.

As a team we would like to send out the message that the continued presence of all of our SEIU 521 County Workers is of vital importance! In our last bargaining session all we heard from the County’s lead negotiator, Dania Torres Wong, was “rejected”… you have no idea how defeating that word is especially when some of the proposals were eagerly supported during previous conversations with some members of the Board of Supervisors!

Now mind you, the proposals that have crossed the table so far are not wholly representative of our entire contract – and we are still very hopeful that the County will be receptive to the rest of our requests (proposals) which they will receive on the 31st.

To be blatantly honest with all of you we are still possibly suffering from a little PTSD at the hands of Ms. Torres Wong from back when we were imposed on during the 2012/2013 negotiation battles. Some of the words out of her mouth are cringeworthy but we need to use those moments as fuel for our fire!

The SBC SEIU 521 Employees are United and Stronger than Ever and together we will fight for what we deserve! We are at the table representing each and every one of you and we appreciate your dedicated support! WE are the Union!

In Unity,
Your Bargaining Team: Suzy Caston, Denise Quintana, Laura Naccarato and Michael Silverman


Summary of July 20 Proposals

Union Proposed:
  • Seniority for overtime assignments
  • Add Cesar Chavez Day to our holiday list
  • Make the Holiday closure (4 days at end of December) permanent (these expire with the current MOU)
  • Delete Grooming Standards article (it already exists in Personnel Rules handbook)
  • New Employee Rights: makes clear probationary employees have rights;
  • Performance Evaluations: 1) Give employees a better process to appeal their evaluations; and 2) If they are late on an evaluation an employee automatically moves to their next step increase.
  • Exit Interviews
  • Click here for SEIU’s proposals on July 20.
County proposed:
  • Preamble: Adding “SEIU” to a section of the MOU’s preamble
  • Length of Contract: 2 year contract
  • Retirement: Having “classic” CalPERS employees contribute 1% more into their pension
  • Deleting bilingual committee
  • Health Insurance: Deleting references to CalPERS healthcare plans, since we no longer use those plans. We pointed out we would still need to keep all references to maintaining the equivalent of the PEMHCA minimum.
  • Retiree healthcare: Please note at the bottom of one page they state “proposed language to follow” and then they removed the existing retiree healthcare language. We asked for clarification to make sure they were not proposing to eliminate retiree healthcare. They made it clear that they intend to update the retiree healthcare language—not eliminate it.
  • Subcontracting: They want to require the Union to respond quickly if County wishes to subcontract.
  • Holiday closure: It’s expired, and they want to eliminate it.
  • Vacation cashouts: It’s expired, and they want to eliminate it.
  • Eligibility Worker I/II/III & Supervisor Job Classifications: County is proposing to reclassify the positions to “Eligibility Specialist” I/II/III & Supervisor with new job descriptions.
  • Click here for a full description of County proposals on July 20.

Summary of July 24 Bargaining Session:

Union Proposed:
  • Vacation Cashout option: proposed making this permanent, since this expired within our current MOU. Adjusted accrual dates so that employees don’t have to wait six years for the next level of vacation accruals.
  • Anti-Bully Policy: proposed adding the new county Anti-Bully policy to the MOU
  • Bilingual Pay: proposed doubling bilingual pay amount
  • Click here for SEIU proposals from July 24.
County proposed:
 County counter-proposed:
  • Offering Cesar Chavez day if employees give up a floating holiday
 County rejected:
  • Rejected Union Proposal on new employee rights
  • Rejected Union Proposal on seniority for overtime assignments
  • Rejected Union Proposal to make holiday closure permanent
  • Rejected Union Proposal to make vacation cashout option permanent

Tentative Agreement (TA) reached on:

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