Local 620 continues to make changes to both staffing and facilities in our goal to better serve the membership. Some of these changes result from long term planning, while some are relatively recent. In June, Local 620 hired an additional field representative, Sam Ramirez. We would like to welcome Sam on board and we look forward to working with him.
I am happy to report that Local 620’s BBQ finally arrived and that its first event was in support of our members at the Wastewater facility in the City of Santa Barbara. Members and guests at the event were very impressed with our new BBQ. Local 620’s Executive Board’s goal for the BBQ is to support member activities and charity events only. Based on our tax structure, we cannot rent this equipment out. Its sole purpose is for member functions and in support of charity functions as a token of goodwill, which we hope will illustrate that Local 620 is not just an employee union, that we are also active members of the communities that our members work in.
As usual, the County of Santa Barbara continues to drag its feet with negotiations. As of the end of June, county representatives still do not have any authority from the Board of Supervisors to negotiate with Local 620 on three reopeners. In 2014, we agreed to a three-year term with a reopener in the third year to the 1.0% COLA already agreed upon, which is due the first pay period in July. Also, we are working on another reopener dealing with equity adjustments for 12 classifications that we represent. In regards to both of these reopeners, management units have already received 3.0% COLAs, while lower paid staff are only scheduled to receive a 1.0% guarantee COLA. Several other county units during the past year have received equity adjustments (including management). To date, we have not received any equity adjustments even though when the county was having hard times we gave back 1.5% of salary with many of our classifications being out of market by 10 to 20%. Our last reopener is dealing with Public Defender Attorney Unit, which received a 7.5% adjustment so that they would be compensated at the same level as DA attorneys, just to have the Board of Supervisors award the DA Attorneys with an additional 7.5% increase. Local 620 looks forward to the County of Santa Barbara getting their act together and negotiating in good faith with this union.
I continue to work with Local 620 members who are employed by San Luis Obispo Superior Court for their successor MOU. At the end of May, our members received a 2.5% onetime payment chargeable to our previous contract. When this was negotiated, we informed the court that whereas we appreciate this onetime cash payment, it does not take the place of ongoing salary increases, which are desperately needed by their lower paid staff after several years of no salary increases. At the present time, we are still seeking 4.0% COLA per year, an increase of $75.00 per month to their cafeteria plan and a joint equity study. We have tentative agreements for special duty pay for legal processing clerks working in the courtrooms, vacation clean-up language and a one to one offset for employer-paid employee portion of retirement cost, effective June 2016. Currently we are still waiting for court negotiators to get direction from the presiding judge on salaries and insurance before resuming negotiations.
As Local 620’s representative to SEIU State Council, we continue to work on issues affecting workers throughout California. We are working with the State Council and our allies on issues such as the “Fight for 15,” which we are seeking a $15 per hour minimum wage law in California; continuing to fight back from anti-labor groups who want to do away with our right to have “Agency Shops”; and we are working on the continuing struggle to protect our public employees’ retirement system. As a SEIU local, it is imperative that we work with our sister SEIU locals and other labor organizations / partners to protect workers’ rights, salaries, and benefits at the local, state, and federal levels. This can only be done by participation from our members, leaders, and staff. Please make sure you take the time to participate in union activities, political processes, and worker organizing campaigns.
Local 620 is dedicated to providing meaningful, quality service to our members. We look forward to involvement and 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