It is hard to believe that half of the year is over. Even though we have accomplished many tasks, staff continues to have a heavy workload dealing with negotiations, member services, and politics.
Negotiations continue with our largest bargaining unit, the County of Santa Barbara. As usual county representatives came to the table predicting gloom and doom with the county’s budget and the negative impacts that the county’s finances will have on our members. The county’s chief spokesperson, Robert MacLeod, from the start has continued on with the same old rhetoric that we have heard for years, which is that our proposals are reasonable, but the county does not have the money. The main problem that your bargaining team sees is that the county does have the funding for fair salary increases but it is just that they would rather waste it on new jails, more management, and construction / remodeling of unneeded buildings like the Emergency Operations Center, which may be used once or twice a year, or the remodeling of the BOS Chambers in Santa Maria, which resulted in no meaningful improvements− it just looks prettier. Your bargaining team made up of Billy Mann from Parks, Sara Scofield from Behavioral Wellness, Bill Haro from Public Works, Lupe Enriquez from DSS, Matt Smith from General Services, Scott Dunlap from SBCERS, Mindi Boulet from Public Defender, Sylvia Lazos from DA, and Margo Wagner from CSD are dedicated to achieving a fair contract with member support. Please take an active role in this year’s bargaining by participating in actions requested by your bargaining team.
Labor organizations and their political committees continue to work with our endorsed candidates. Being a small local leaves us with less of a voice when dealing on federal and state issues, but locally we have the means and the power to make a real difference.
One of the most important campaigns for Local 620 and the majority of our members is the County of Santa Barbara Board of Supervisor elections, which affects more than 50% of our members. I am happy to report that Das Williams won the election in June for 1st District Supervisor and I am sorry to report that Eduardo Ozeta lost in the 4th District. Even more importantly, Joan Hartman came in first for the Third District and will be in a run-off election in November. It is imperative that Local 620 and our members come out to support Joan so that we can maintain three Board of Supervisors out of five who actually support their staff.
Joan Hartmann is running for the 3th District. She has sat on dozens of boards as an officer / member for non-profit organizations in Santa Barbara County including six years as an advocate / volunteer for children in the foster care system. Until such time as she announced her candidacy for supervisor, Joan sat on the Planning Commission for the Third District. I personally and professionally support Joan and ask our members to do the same in November.
Salud Carbajal is in a run-off in November for United States Congress after coming in 1st place in June. Salud, over the years, has always made himself available to discuss issues that concern Local 620 in the county’s 1st District. Salud has been involved with the labor movement for most of his life and has always been a friend / supporter of working families. I personally and professionally support Salud and ask our members to do the same.
Politics are an important part of trade unionism, especially for public sector labor organizations. Through our political work, we develop relationships that create laws that provide increased benefits, job protection, and the ability to negotiate over issues affecting our employment. We need members to stay active in politics, make sure that they are registered to vote, and make sure they understand whom they are voting for. As a labor organization, our job is to inform you of what candidates support working families; your job is to look at all aspects of the candidates and select the person whom you feel will do the best job for the citizens they will be serving. The main goal is for you to VOTE.
Whether it is at the bargaining table or with politics, the most important aspect is that membership gets involved. Local 620 conducts monthly chapter meeting, worksite visits, and ongoing email blasts. We need the members to become active in their union’s activities. We need your input even if it differs from the direction that we are taking. And we need to stay united, which means that everyone’s voice needs to be heard and then by majority rule we must unite to achieve that goal. Even if we all do not achieve our individual personal goals, if we can achieve some of the majority’s goals year after year then our overall salaries and benefits will improve. The result is that we will be able to support our families and our community simply by participating.
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, and suggestions and we encourage you to participate in your union.
Bruce Corsaw, Executive Director