At the January 22nd mediation session, Local 620’s bargaining team agreed to take the county’s final offer to our membership for a vote. The final offer changed the second year one time money of 1.7% to a 1.0% ongoing COLA, bringing Unit 20 members to the same level as our other members for Unit Cash ($236.51 Bi-weekly) and defining the re-opener to insure that it is for salary increases, not another opportunity for administration to negatively impact our current salaries. As a final insult / punishment by County’s Chief Spokesperson, the County is unwilling to provide retro pay of the 2.0% salary increase in any way. The final salary proposal is a 2.0% raise upon ratification, 1.0% raise in July of 2014, and a 1.0% raise in July of 2015 with a reopener in April of 2015. Local 620’s Bargaining Team is recommending acceptance of this agreement simply because we feel that this is the best we can hope for from this administration and to continue will only negatively affect our members more. For the past 10 months, this has been the poorest example of bargaining in good faith that I have ever been a party to; we still believe this is a victory. The county started these negotiations with demands for concessions and continued these demands for months with imaginary or made-up concerns that the county will experience additional negative economic impacts. There is not a week that goes by that a public agency does not claim the sky is falling and there has never been a time that I have been at the bargaining table that the employer’s spokesperson didn’t use this as a bargaining tool. After our contract expired and several job actions, we were able to agree on ending concessions and to provide some long overdue increases. ETA and Local 721 quickly jumped at these increases as long as they would get me-too language. Local 620 fought on for a fair contract and whereas we do not believe this is fair, we were able to get another 1.0% increase (ongoing) from the employer and some long overdue compensation for the PD attorneys whom have not seen any increases since 2008. I would like to thank the bargaining team and the members who participated in all of the job actions for their dedication to their coworkers and willingness to fight for a fair contract. Also, I would like say to ETA and Local 721 that you are welcome for the extra 1.0% ongoing COLA that Local 620 members got for you at the expense of months of loss COLAs, delayed step increases and a lot of hard work.
More encouraging is that we have been able to achieve fairer contracts with many of the cities that we represent. The City of Santa Maria signed a one-year contract that ended furloughs and provided a 3.0% salary increase. On January 15, members of the General Unit in the City of Santa Barbara ratified a three-year contract that provided a 2.5% increase in the first year, 2,0% increase in the second year and a 3.0% increase in the third year; along with some equity adjustments, $30 increase to health care and minor clean-up language.
I am also happy to report that we now represent the City of Goleta and after we finish with resolving the issue of Bargaining Unit designation with the city and PERB, we will begin negotiating their first contract. I would like to thank the city employees and their leadership for choosing Local 620 as their sole representative and we look forward to working with them for many years.
2014 is also another election year and at the present time, we are preparing for many upcoming city council races and Santa BarbaraCounty’s Board of Supervisors (BOS) races in the second and fifth districts. We need our members to join political packs and partner with their Local 620 representative to get involved in their local electoral races. These candidates if they win will be our bosses.
Whereas for several years we have had difficulty with the County of Santa Barbara both at the table and with representational issues for our members, the one supervisor that has gone out of her way to support her employees has been the second District Supervisor Janet Wolf. That is why early in 2013 Supervisor Wolf request and was given Local 620’s endorsement. We may not always agree on issues facing the county, but Supervisor Wolf’s door has always been open and she has always genuinely listen to our point of view, our supporting facts and she has engaged us in discussion either in support or explained why she can’t support our position. Supervisor Wolf has never tried to be the typical politician that feeds you with what you want to hear; she is truthful to a fault even if it creates problems for her down the road. Local 620 encourages members of Local 620 to get out and help Supervisor Wolf win her re-election for second District Supervisor for the County of Santa Barbara. We also encourage the residents in the second District to vote for Supervisor Wolf.
Local 620 is dedicated to providing meaningful, quality service to our members. We look forward to interaction with members both in a group setting and one on one. We value your constructive input, suggestions and we encourage you to participate in your union.