March 16, 2020

Coronavirus-related bargaining unit updates

County of San Diego

SEIU Local 221 is actively negotiating with the County of San Diego about the impact of the coronavirus crisis on employees and our communities. As a result, the County has taken an important first step by agreeing to provide advanced leave credit. This will allow employees to receive an advance of up to 120 hours of sick leave if they do not have adequate accrued leave, pending approval by the Board of Supervisors. This would cover workers who have school-age children who must stay at home, either because of the school closures or because of the virus, or people who feel sick. Follow this link to read the Pandemic Advanced Credit Leave Letter of Understanding, which would apply to the following units: AE, CL, FS, HS, MM, PR, PS, RN, SS and SW. We won these accommodations for workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, but members know there is still work to do. Because of this we are continuing to meet with the County about additional demands: Follow this link to sign the petition.

San Diego County Library

When County management decided to implement a library “curbside pickup plan” shortly after the coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic worsened on March 18 without consulting with library staff, our union took action.
Employees in the libraries raised health and safety issues about implementing this plan during the pandemic. Employees also were concerned about this change in operations happening on short notice without training or agreeing to an official policy change. Our union sent a cease-and-desist letter with these concerns.
Follow this link to the petition to make the County safer during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our libraries are a critical resource for our diverse communities,” Librarian Leslie Masland said. “Working together through our union, we stopped management from implementing the ill-conceived curbside pickup plan, so we can focus on keeping Library workers and the communities we serve safe.”
Our union supports working with the County to maintain public services as much as possible during the pandemic. For example, San Diego County Library is coordinating staff-led virtual programming to continue serving the community safely during this time. However, the health and safety of employees and the communities we serve cannot be sacrificed to do this.
That is why our union took action to enforce health and safety protections and sent a cease-and-desist letter, follow this link to read it.
The County agreed to stop the curbside pickup because of these employee concerns. This was only possible because employees stood together in our union. We won these accommodations for workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, but members know there is still work to do. Because of this we are continuing to meet with the County about additional demands.

San Diego Housing Commission

In March, SDHC and SEIU Local 221 proactively initiated bargaining over the effects of COVID-19 on represented employees. The parties recognized from the start of this process that the current emergency poses great danger to the health and safety of SDHC staff and their families, as well as our clients and communities. We entered this process with mutual commitments of good faith and a shared desire to support those who do the work.

We are pleased to announce that our SEIU Local 221 Bargaining Team has successfully reached a Side Letter Agreement with SDHC guaranteeing:

  • Workplace health and safety standards, including commitments to cleaning of facilities and provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Hazard pay differentials for employees who perform their jobs in-person during the COVID-19 pandemic, including additional hazard pay for those with especially dangerous jobs.
  • Teleworking opportunities that include financial support to cover costs of working remotely, as well as time off options for health and family care.

Click here to view the SDHC-SEIU Side Letter of Agreement

Fallbrook Union High School District

SEIU Local 221 sent a letter Friday to the Fallbrook Union High School District Superintendent demanding to negotiate about the impact of the coronavirus. Your Chapter President Rose Peralta was at the table along with SEIU Local 221 Organizer Cipriano Vargas. We raised vital issues and safety concerns to ensure the well-being of our members and won on issues that we advocated for. Read the FUHSD and SEIU Joint communication letter and MOU by following this link

Imperial County, Superior Court of California

  • April 6 update: Court employees demanded Imperial County Superior Court balance justice with protecting the health and safety of courthouse employees, jurors, inmates and the public during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the Court signed an agreement to have rotating, minimum staffing in each department. Those not required at work will be on paid leave at home. Follow this link to read the agreement.This will limit the number of people and their potential exposure, but keep vital services available.
  • After SEIU Local 221 contacted the Superior Court of California, County of Imperial, regarding compensation for employees required to work during court closures, our Union fought and won giving employees a choice between overtime pay (double time) or earning a floating holiday (see language below):
    “The Court plans to continue to compensate employees who would otherwise be scheduled to work, Paid Administrative Leave. Any employee required to report to an Employer facility or worksite in-person during the effective period of the Court closures shall be paid, at the employees choice, either a floating holiday or overtime pay at one (1) times their normal rate of pay on an hour-for-hour basis for the hours they work.”
    We appreciate this positive step and will continue to negotiate with Court management to ensure that employees and the communities we serve are supported in this challenging time.
  • After SEIU Local 221 contacted the Superior Court of California, County of Imperial, to make sure that employees are protected during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Court announced it will be closed for non-essential operations effective March 23 through March 31.
    During the limited operations, the Court will require limited and essential staff needed to meet the essential court matters. The Court plans to continue to compensate employees who would otherwise be scheduled to work.
    Read the entire press release from Imperial County Superior Court by following this link. We appreciate this positive step and will continue to negotiate with them to ensure that employees and the communities we serve are supported in this challenging time.


SEIU Local 221 contacted MAAC, on Friday, March 13, to make sure that represented employees are protected in this current (COVID-19) pandemic. MAAC CEO Arnulfo Manriquez sent out a memo stating that staff who are on leave will be required to use paid sick leave and be permitted to carry a negative balance. MAAC members found this unacceptable and demanded that management follow past practice and give employees paid administrative leave during this emergency as it did during the California fires.

On Tuesday, March 17, members signed a petition with three demands:

  • MAAC staff be on paid administrative leave during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Spring Break stay as previously scheduled from April 6 to 12
  • MAAC staff that are deemed essential will be provided remote working options

On March 18, NHA and ECS Head Start program member leaders sent a letter of support, urging MAAC management to follow the standard that has been set by schools and Head Starts in the San Diego area. These employers are providing an option that does not affect sick or vacation time.

On Wednesday evening, the MAAC CEO sent an email stating that members of management spoke to their funders about the leave policy and they would be able to pay staff administrative leave. For those that have been classified as essential staff, they will provide remote accommodations and are working toward making special equipment and training available. They changed Spring Break back to the previous date for Child Development Staff.

Although we have made progress, we are not finished yet. In the coming week, we will be bargaining with management about emergency and contingency protocols for represented employees and having Spring Break during the same time period for all staff.

Neighborhood House Association

After SEIU Local 221 contacted Neighborhood House Association insisting that action be taken to protect employees from the coronavirus (COVID-19), NHA responded that it would be closing through April 6 and providing employees will full pay and benefits during the closure. Read the entire response from NHA by following this link.

SEIU Local 221 coronavirus-related resources


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Coronavirus resources

Updated: April 16

Protection at work

Relief for working families

Mental health resources

  • San Diego County Behavioral Health Access and Crisis Line: (888) 724-7240
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: (800) 662-4357
  • The Trevor Project (crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning  young people under 25): (866) 488-7386 or text START to 678678
  • Parental Stress Helpline: (800) 632-8188
  • Disaster Distress Line: (800) 985-5990
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: (800) 273-8255
  • Veterans Crisis Hotline: Text 838255 or (800) 273-8255 and Press 1
  • Mental Wellness Under Quarantine free online course

Domestic violence resources

  • YWCA San Diego Becky’s House: (619) 234-3164 or offices: (619) 239-0355.
  • Casa Segura (Safe House) short-term, confidential shelter and transitional housing to victims of domestic violence and their children who are homeless: (800) 640-2933 or offices (619) 420-3620.
  • Center for Community Solutions: (888) 385-4657, Project Safe House: (619) 631-6442, Hidden Valley House: (760) 480-0055
  • Community Resource Center: 1-(877) 633-1112 or office: (760) 753-8300
  • Women’s Resource Center  provides crisis services and resources like food, toiletries and diapers: (760) 757-3500

Schools and children

Opportunities to help

San Diego County

State of California



SEIU Local 221 coronavirus-related resources



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Union hall closed: Members stay strong during crisis

As of March 16, we are closing the Local Union Hall until further notice. We are postponing upcoming meetings.

The Local will remain accessible by telephone. If you have any upcoming in-person meetings at the Union Hall or at your work site, please call in first. Call (858) 560-0151 to confirm that meetings are taking place in person or whether they will be delayed, done by phone or remotely.

The COVID-19 outbreak is a fast moving situation. We will give you updates as we get them. We are meeting to determine the best course of action with employers, including with the County of San Diego, which we are in communication with and we will meet with shortly. We will send updates as they become available.

Your union’s updated COVID-19 resource page includes a form to report concerns about discrimination or unfair treatment:

We encourage respect for all employees and those we serve during this challenging time. COVID-19 has the potential to affect all communities, regardless of race or ethnic background. As members of SEIU Local 221, let’s make sure we stand with our communities and are united against all forms of prejudice and discriminatory targeting.

Being united in our union to address this virus is another example of why all working people need the opportunity to join together in a union, no matter where we work.

SEIU Local 221 coronavirus-related resources


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