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Strike school was inspirational! Over 400 members came and enjoyed a Solidarity Breakfast with Invest in San Diego Families Coalition members, allies and elected officials that pledged to stand with us.
Together we discussed the update from county negotiations. From the outset the County showed no interest in actually bargaining evidenced by the fact that they have illegally moved backwards twice since making their opening proposal, while rejecting nearly every proposal put forth by the Bargaining Team.
San Diego County is sitting on nearly $2 billion in cash reserves, meanwhile they rank at or near the bottom in terms of staffing levels, investment in services and salaries for their employees. We entered the process hopeful that we would reach agreement through honest, fair and constructive bargaining. Unfortunately, the opposite has been true. To date we have been forced to file 4 unfair labor practice charges against the County and many more are in the works.
After reviewing the status of bargaining, members went through a thorough legal training led by our lawyer on our right to take action up to and including a strike if necessary. Some of the key points are summarized below in our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) piece. At the end of the day members pledged to stay strong, expand our support and stand together to fight for our rights!
Key Next Steps:
Continue to show strength in the field through membership growth and getting our petitions signed. If you haven’t already please sign the petition available at https://seiu221.seiu.org/page/signup/petition.
Force the County to bargain in good faith by filing Unfair Labor Charges and expanding activity at our worksites.
FAQ – Our Rights to Strike Against Unfair Labor Practices
How will I know when the strike is going to occur?
First there will be a strike authorization vote to allow the Bargaining Team to call a strike if necessary. If the majority of the voting members vote to authorize a strike, then the bargaining team will determine when the strike will take place.
Do I have a say in whether or not we should strike?
Yes! All dues-paying members of SEIU Local 221 are allowed to participate in the strike authorization vote.
Will everyone go out on strike, or will some people have to continue to work during the strike?
Every employee represented by SEIU Local 221 is entitled to participate in the strike, however, the County will likely take the position that they need to have “essential employees” working if there is a strike. In the end, the Public Employee Relations Board (PERB) will determine the number of workers by classification and shift who will be required to work. A judge will decide whether to issue PERB a court order approving PERB’s determination.
What is an “essential employee”, can they participate in the strike?
Public employers try to claim that most, if not all of their employees are “essential” to keeping services up and running. (PERB) almost always finds that the employer has exaggerated. PERB decides what number of workers by classification and shift are “essential” and a judge may or may not agree with PERB.
How will I know if I am an “essential employee” who is unable to participant in a strike?
Before any strike occurs, the County will have to get a court order clearly stating which employees have been determined to be “essential” during the strike. Essential workers should join the picket lines during their breaks, lunch period and before and after work.
Is there a “strike fund” and will it pay my salary while I am out on strike?
Workers will not be paid for the time they are on strike. There is a strike fund and the Bargaining Team will determine how to utilize any funds that are available.
Can the County replace, or fire someone if they participate in the strike?
No! It is illegal to fire or permanently replace any worker who participates in an “Unfair Labor Practice” strike. If we go on strike it will be to protest ongoing Unfair Labor Practices by the county. The County will have to return strikers to their jobs when the strike is over.
Can family members join me on the picket line?
Absolutely! The picket line can, and should be staffed by bargaining unit members and their family members and friends who support them.
Can my manager or the County ask me if I am going to participate in the strike?
No! Employers are NOT permitted to ask employees if they will participate in a strike. However, in healthcare facilities, employers can ask employees but they must make clear that the employee will not experience reprisals.
I am a supervisor and I am also a member of the Union, are there any restrictions on me?
As a union member you are entitled to participate in the strike and you can and should tell your co-workers, including the people you supervise, that you intend to participate in the strike. It is your right to organize for your union and ensure a successful union action. You should not disobey directives by your employer but you should report any directives regarding strike activity to your worksite organizer.
Can we strike before the 90-Day cooling off period in our contract has expired?
YES! The 90-day cooling off period does not apply to Unfair Labor Practice Strikes. We will be striking to protest Unfair Labor Practices by the County so if the members authorize it, the bargaining team can call a strike at any time as long as the contract is expired.
Will nurses and other patient care workers be charged with patient abandonment if they strike?
No! Nurses and other patient care workers can legally participate in a strike as long as they begin striking before their shift starts. Nurses should not join the strike in the middle of a shift. If a court order says they are “essential employees” the Union will let them know and consider a strategy regarding issuing them line passes.
If I am on probation at the time of the strike, can I be fired or disciplined for joining the strike?
No, as a probationary employee you have a right to strike under the law, and you cannot be disciplined or terminated for exercising that right.
Will my health benefits or pension be impacted if I strike?
Participation in a strike should not have any impact on your health care or pension unless the strike lasts for a significant period of time. Any member who is told otherwise should contact the Union immediately.
I am a sworn officer, am I barred from striking like firefighters and police officers?
None of the classifications represented by SEIU Local 221 are barred from striking, however, you may be subject to the rules regarding “essential employees.”
If I am out on leave or vacation during the strike, can I still participate in the strike?
Yes! However, you must make sure that your strike activity doesn’t violate any restrictions noted on your FMLA form.
Come to Strike School to win
By TRACEY CARTER
If you believe that San Diego County should invest in a better safety ladder, smart justice and good jobs, you need to sign up for Strike School this Saturday. The first 200 people will get free parking paid for by the union. Please carpool if possible.
Wednesday morning our Invest in San Diego Families Coalition members joined us as we prepared for a full day of bargaining.
We told them, “Thank you partners. We are sorry you can’t be in the room during bargaining with the County – but what you are doing is working.”
We also heard a report that the union is gaining membership this month.
As our membership grows, the bargaining team had one message, “If we don’t stand strong together now, the County will roll over us forever. We have to tell them that enough is enough.”
Despite the bargaining team’s frustration at the County illegally changing the deal they originally offered and not bargaining in good faith, your bargaining team made another proposal to the County. Read the complete details here.
The bargaining team is only as strong as the members it represents. We need you to do the following to show the County we are united in demanding it do better:
By TRACEY CARTER
The bargaining team, coming off of a thousand person action at the Board of Supervisors on Wednesday, came to the bargaining table ready to work on Thursday, June 15.
The team was met with the same lack of bargaining by management’s team.
We brought forward many stories and examples of how the Counties rampant outsourcing has hurt our community, and deteriorated the services we provide. Many on the team told personal stories from their experience seeing subcontracted services fail our clients.
Management’s team refused to reconsider their blanket rejection of all SEIU proposals, made no other proposals of their own, and made clear yet again, that the County is bargaining in bad faith.
The County has shown our team over and over that they simply don’t want to bargain, even about language changes that cost the County nothing.
Your SEIU Local 221 bargaining team voted on Wednesday to keep pushing forward at the bargaining table, despite County management’s clear attempt to intimidate the union members into taking their deal.
We must show the County that it can’t bully us with its “take it or leave it” attitude.
Come to the County Budget Hearing and tell the Board of Supervisors that the time to invest in good jobs, which support vital services is now. We are encouraging everyone to give public testimony for up to three minutes.
Getting there: The parking garage on W Ash Street may be free, or consider taking a bus:
The County is considering a $5.7 billion budget proposal and is hoarding more than $1.7 billion in unrestricted reserves. It’s time to start investing in good jobs, children, seniors and families. A bi-partisan group of candidates that are running for County Supervisor in Districts 4 and 5 acknowledged the County must stop hoarding funds and Invest in San Diego Families. Members of the Board of Supervisors will be watching to see if we are strong and united in our efforts to win during the budget process and at the bargaining table.
SEIU Local 221 County Chapter President
P.S. If you haven’t already, sign the petition to tell the County it must do better
The fight is on!
County makes illegal threats at bargaining table
By TRACEY CARTER
County says, “We don’t have a recruitment and retention problem, our turnover rate is fine.”After months of saying nothing at the bargaining table, the County rejected all of the proposals that we had made to address the fact that San Diego is at or near the bottom in terms of staffing levels, salaries, benefits and investing in services for its residents. Not only did they flat out reject our package of proposals, they illegally threatened to slash the offer they have on the table if workers don’t agree to accept it by the end of our current agreement.
We know that if we stay strong and united we can force the County to come to a fair and reasonable agreement but we knew it wasn’t going to be easy. This move is a clear attempt to punish us for having the audacity to actually want to bargain rather than just take what they offered.
It’s time to double down. San Diego is sitting on billions in reserves and growing its revenue by over 100 million dollars a year. The Supervisors said they deserved 12.5 percent raises so they could be “second to Los Angeles” but they want employees and residents to be stuck in the bottom.
San Diego must do better!
Stand Strong, Stand United, Stand Together
The County’s proposal Tuesday, June 6:
The County also added an expiration date to the 5-year deal of 11:59 pm June 22.
Once that date passes, the three year deal is all that’s left on the table.
We know that with the County’s stable income and strong finances, the County could fund SEIU 221’s proposals without changing the fundamentals of its budget strategy.
This is a strong arm tactic that shows that the County will not be moved at the table. Instead we must mobilize to show that we are united by having a massive turnout at the Board of Supervisors Budget Hearing.at 5 pm on Wednesday June 14. If you haven’t signed up already – do so now – and commit to bringing five of your coworkers. Let the County know it can’t bully us with high-pressure tactics.
At 8 am Saturday, June 24, your SEIU Local 221 bargaining team presents Strike School.
We will cover: