From the Executive Director

 

Local 620 members are facing many challenges in 2013 dealing with the current economic climate, which is showing signs of improvement, but at a slower rate than what we expected. We continue to work on clarifications on new laws affecting public employees’ pensions and what steps we need to take in negotiations to protect our current and future members’ pension plans.

January and February 2013 will be the time that we are preparing to negotiate our largest contract for the Santa Barbara County General Unit, which expires on June 30, 2013. This contract represents approximately 50% of Local 620’s membership as a whole. The intent is to use the majority of Local 620 staff both at the table and with the field campaign to force an end to concessions and to begin again to gain positive enhancements for our members. This will require that all members working for the County of Santa Barbara take an active role in supporting their Bargaining Team by participating in what ever job action that will get the message to County Administration that we no longer wish to be a funding source for their budget and that it is time that the employer protects their most valuable asset: their frontline staff.

In addition to the need to negotiate with our largest employer, there is the need to negotiate 15 additional contracts for our members in 2013, which requires the same amount of work and member involvement. It is imperative that all of Local 620 members support both their Bargaining Team and their Contract Action Team (CATs) through a meaningful field campaign. At the same time, we need to support our fellow members and their job actions in other jurisdictions because employers often use the issues / outcomes of neighboring employers when making their proposals.

Union members need to stay active with their union, their bargaining teams & leadership in support of their current contract, future contracts and their employer’s budget process. Attend union meetings, support field campaigns and continue to educate the general public on the work that public employees do and the truth about our compensation and benefits we receive. Our employer’s budget directly affects our jobs and it is imperative that members understand what is being adopted and to the best of their ability participate in the process.

Though we expect we will be entering into good faith bargaining that will result in positive enhancements to our wages and benefits, we still have the need to evaluate the employer’s ability to pay for any enhancements. The frontline staff for the majority of public employers whom we represent were the first to step up to the plate and help the employer balance their budget and we should be the first to see incentives for our sacrifice. But we continue to have the need to be prudent and thoroughly evaluate each employer’s budget to ensure that the goals we are pursuing are reasonable. This will require active participation on the part of all membership to force our elected politicians to change their priorities back to supporting their main obligation: the services that we provide to the general public.

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.

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