Public Works Crew Forces Management to Reimburse them for Unpaid Mileage

From left to right: Juan Magdaleno, Eddie Barragan, Raul Carbajal Jr. Photo courtesy of Raul Carbajal Jr.

From left to right: Juan Magdaleno, Eddie Barragan, Raul Carbajal Jr. Photo courtesy of Raul Carbajal Jr.

Here’s an update on a story that we started following last year in Monterey County. In 2016, Public Works Manager Shawn Atkins unilaterally decided to transfer the entire bridge maintenance crew to Greenfield, 42 miles from their primary work location in Salinas. Atkins apparently wanted our union workers to commute to a project on their own time and at their own expense, without any negotiation over the impacts his decision would have. 

Despite our best efforts to warn the department head, Carl Holm, that refusing to negotiate with union workers is unlawful, Holm chose to follow bad advice from HR, leaving us with little choice but to file an Unfair Practice Charge with the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB).
 
After PERB issued a Complaint against the County, management was forced to attend a settlement conference in Oakland, where SEIU Members Raul Carbajal and Eddie Barragan negotiated a settlement that recovered about a thousand dollars per employee for their unreimbursed mileage expenses. 
 
“Going forward, we hope that management will be more open to working with us before imposing decisions that affect our working conditions.”
–Raul Carbajal, Bridge Maintenance Worker and SEIU 521 Steward
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