Local 21 Wins on Understaffing and Extended Range Issues

Legal Assistants Win Extended Salary Ranges

This past month, 8173 Legal Assistants won the ability to receive extended salary range. These members perform the critical work that allows the City’s legal system to work in the Public Defender’s office, the City Attorney, the District Attorney, and the Police Department.

Local 21 represents 51 Legal Assistants throughout San Francisco, about half of whom work at the Public Defender’s Office. Legal Assistants at the Public Defender’s Office noticed an ongoing issue of retention in the workforce, where talented co-workers were leaving for other jurisdictions or for the private sector. Members felt there was little upward mobility once they had reached the top of the 8173 salary scale. In an effort to solve this problem, they began advocating for a higher pay scale that would offer more incentive to talented people to continue their service at the department.

Local 21 members researched, gathered data, and prepared arguments to department management, who agreed that it was important to improve Legal Assistant pay. We then worked with department management to pressure the City’s Department of Human Resources to add 8173s to the list of classifications approved for extended range pay.

The approval of extended range for the classification is an important step in the right direction as the Public Defender 8173s continue to push to improve their jobs and create more upward mobility within the department.

Margaret So, an 8173 Legal Assistant at the Public Defender’s Office said, “Our fight to attain extended range is an important step towards winning upward mobility for our classification. It also instills the hope that we can win wage increases that allow all Local 21 members to keep up with the cost of living in the Bay Area.”

Classifications eligible for Extended Range and application directions are available at http://sfdhr.org/sites/default/files/documents/Classification-and-Compensation/Local-21-Extended-Range-Procedures.pd



Local 21 Members Demand Change on Issues of Understaffing and Overwork at the Department of Public Health

Local 21 members in the Department of Public Health’s (DPH) IT Procurement Team are raising the alarm on severe understaffing and overwork. The IT Procurement Team is responsible for processing requisitions and departmental purchase orders for IT Product and Service requests for all of DPH. For the past 10 months, members have been dealing with persistent overwork and understaffing.

Members reported experiencing a 100% increase in inventory workload, a 200% increase in Financial System Project (F$P) workload, and a 440% increase in the minimum time required for data entry per request. Over the same period, the workforce has been reduced by 30-40% through a refusal to fill vacancies and consistently delayed requests for extra staff. This has led to Local 21 members experiencing overwork, more job-related stress, and an increase in illness and the use of sick leave. 

Since the start of this increased workload, members have repeatedly brought this issue up to management. Time and again, management has ignored these requests to fill vacancies and review the effects that the F$P implementation is having on employee workload and health.

Just this month, an employee retired and came back on a “Prop F” basis to train their replacement. The replacement position was subsequently reassigned to another team, and members were told to request a temporary staff person rather than a Permanent Civil Service position. The very next day, yet another request to fill a position was delayed.

Local 21 members decided we’d had enough. We raised the issue before the San Francisco Health Commission meeting, demanding that the Commissioners direct DPH’s IT leadership to immediately fill critical vacancies, proactively work with members to assess our needs and work to constructively address ongoing workload and staffing issues. This provoked an immediate response, with the Department being told they needed to have a resolution and response before the next Commission meeting. 

Thanks to Local 21 members’ proactive action, we’ve been able to get the City to take action on this critical issue. When we stand together and take action, we win!