At our last negotiations session, we presented our major economic proposals to the County. Despite our verbal agreement with the County that all proposals would cross the table today, the County DID NOT provide us with any proposals on wages, and they did not propose any changes or increases to our health care contributions.
They did, however, offer us a 401(a) plan, which would give employees the ability to invest up to $50,000 of their earnings into a deferred compensation plan. We were confused as to how such a plan would be relevant at all our to members, as our number one issue is that many San Benito County workers can’t afford to live in this county on the salary they are making right now, let alone have the extra income needed to defer more of their salary towards retirement. The County responded that they felt it would only be fair to offer it to us because “other units” were requesting it. So while the County’s bargaining team was ready to offer us a deferred compensation plan that is tailored for higher-income employees, they were not prepared to offer a wage proposal that would address the major pay disparity between frontline workers and the County’s top managers.
We know that for years the County has balanced its budget on our backs, and that we have yet to truly recover at the pace that other employee units and managers have. It is for this reason that we presented to the County our Bargaining Principles for this year’s contract negotiations, which outline where we stand and what we are fighting for. Click here to read our Bargaining Principles.
Our proposals at our July 31 negotiations reflected our desire to send a message to the County that it is time to invest in our frontline SEIU employees like they have in other employees (the other employees that are actually capable of depositing $50,000 into 401(a) plan).
Your Bargaining Team: Suzy Caston, Denise Quintana, Laura Naccarato and Michael Silverman.
Summary of July 31 Negotiation Session
- Retirement: countered County’s retirement proposal for “classic” PERS employees so that County would contribute 1% in longevity pay in exchange for those employees having to contribute 1% more into their CalPERS retirement.
- Wages & term of MOU: Proposed a 3 year contract with wage increases and one-time cash bonuses to bring recovery to our members and retain them with our county.
- Healthcare: proposed to increase County’s contributions to healthcare; a Health Savings Account for County to contribute an amount into for high deductible plans; increased opt-out amount; made dental insurance enrollment annual instead of every other year; added pre-65 retirees who receive medicare to retiree group eligible for county healthcare contributions; added retiree member of SEIU to insurance committee.
- G-Step: proposed to restore G-Step so that it is available for ALL employees
- Longevity: proposed to add a 15th year category for Longevity
- Standby pay: proposed to double current amount.
- OSHA-approved footwear reimbursements: added Agricultural Biologist Inspector classification to the list in Appendix D of the MOU.
- Union rights: proposed to add a retiree to bargaining team for retiree matters; allow more than 4 stewards in a dept; allow email to notify employees of union meetings; changed notice needed to have a union representative attend Board of Supervisors meeting; increased union leave of absence; updated language on dues and fees; expanded reports on represented employees and retirees.
- Healthcare: keeping County contributions for healthcare and opt-out unchanged; makes retirees who are under 65 and on medicare only receive 70% of healthcare contributions; rejects having a retiree member on health insurance committee; adds a 401(a) plan.
Save the Date: August 14 Chapter Meeting
**Please Note: Our monthly chapter meeting will not be held during lunch at Strawhat!
Monthly Chapter Meeting
Where: SB County Library Conference Room
When: Monday, August 14 at 5:15pm