2/6/19 - February Bulletin #1

Contra Costa Bulletin: February 6, 2019
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Representation Update: Local 21 Works Effectively with County to Resolve Issues for Members
                                              
While the contract is settled for the next few years and the effort to find a HealthNet replacement for 2020 begins in earnest, much work continues in our ongoing efforts to appropriately enforce and implement the Local 21 MOU. The Union and County recently agreed to a back-pay award following an arbitration victory last year. Several employees will soon receive a share of the total $100,000 award after the Union prevailed on every count in a case involving “Performance Pay” and “Salary on Promotion” that originated at Public Works Department.
 
We are also breaking new ground in resolving a longstanding problematic issue related to determining whether a given appointment is a “promotion” or “transfer", as well as salary placement upon promotion or transfer. The proposed Side Letter Agreement under consideration comes as a result of the Union’s persistence in attempting to bring sanity to the County’s sometimes problematic interpretation of the Salary Regulations and Personnel Management Resolution.
 
And just last week, the Union and County agreed to a settlement in a disciplinary case for which there was not sufficient just cause to warrant the one-month pay reduction.  The initial Order of Action cited “negligence” related to an accident as a reason for the pay reduction, but the Union compellingly demonstrated that there was no negligence involved. The pay reduction was vacated and the impacted member, who followed all rules and procedures following accidents and was truthful from the get-go about what happened, will be made whole. 
 
Finally, the Union recently worked with members at the Auditor-Controller’s Office to meet and confer over the creation of new job classifications as well as the reclassification of incumbents. With the key assistance of involved members, we were able to enhance the pay adjustments associated with the changes, which also involved taking on new and different work than the work performed previously. And in another compensation case, the Union recently resolved a longstanding salary compaction problem for two Local 21-represented managers whose base salaries were surpassed last year by the base salary of those they supervise. The County agreed to reset our members’ salaries and link them at 5% above those of their subordinates moving forward.     
 
Our Union is at work every day to enforce the MOU and protect the rights of members. Whether the issue involves a job specification change, policy change, schedule change, investigatory meeting, improper contracting out of bargaining unit work and County services, Americans with Disabilities Act interactive meeting, or just some “old-fashioned” core organizing around issues such as staff turnover and retention concerns, we are here to help.
 
 
Will you join us for the February 9th "Medicare for All" event?
Medicare for All Barnstorm!
Saturday, February 9, 2019 
10am-12pm
Concord Senior Center
2727 Parkside Circle, Concord, CA

All Community Members Welcome! *Coffee and Light Breakfast provided
**PLEASE RSVP HERE**
The 9-Union Healthcare Coalition accomplished a lot during negotiations last year, including a move to the county paying a premium subsidy of 80% across all plans of the 2nd lowest cost non-deductible HMO plan (Kaiser A currently) by 2022. But what if there were no premiums and healthcare was FREE at the point of service?  
 
Affordable Healthcare should NOT be a luxury. Under a single-payer system like ‘Medicare for All’, healthcare coverage would be comprehensive and not conditional on employment. That means even if we lost our job due to a serious illness or injury, we’d be able to keep our healthcare coverage. Also, a single-payer system would solve the drag of rising healthcare costs on our wages. Until our successful 9-Union negotiations with the County last year, our employer responded to increasing insurance costs by removing much of the difference from our paychecks. Under a single payer system, increasing healthcare costs would be much better controlled and would no longer affect our wages. 
 
The Medicare for All Campaign is just the beginning of a longer conversation for union members in Contra Costa County and elsewhere about how to solve the healthcare cost crisis impacting our families once and for all. To get to 100% coverage, we need the larger community to start viewing medical care as a right for all people.
 
Will you join us on February 9th to learn more?
https://actionnetwork.org/events/concord-barnstorm-national-medicare-for-all-week-of-action
 
What you can do now:
1) RSVP for the event -- https://actionnetwork.org/events/concord-barnstorm-national-medicare-for-all-week-of-action
2) Commit to bringing a colleague, friend, or family member.
3) Post the Barnstorm Flyer in break rooms and share on social media.
 
 
ABOUT HR 676:

The Medicare for All Act of 2019 will guarantee quality, therapeutic care to every person in the United States. There will be a comprehensive package of benefits, including primary care, hospital and outpatient services, prescription drugs, dental, vision, audiology, full women’s reproductive health services including abortion, maternity and newborn care, long-term care services and supports, mental health and substance abuse treatment, laboratory and diagnostic services, ambulatory services and more.
 
Patients will have the complete freedom to choose the doctors, hospitals and other providers they wish to see without worrying about whether a provider is “in network.” 

There will be no premiums, no co-pays and no deductibles—and no charges whatsoever at the point of service. The bill preserves the ability of veterans to receive their medical benefits and services through the Veterans Administration if they wish, and of Native Americans to receive their medical benefits and services through the Indian Health Service, if they wish.
 
JLMBC (Healthcare) Update
                                           
While we start the longer conversation with workers in Contra Costa County about the possibility of systemic change to the country’s employer-based, for-profit healthcare system through Medicare for All, make no mistake that our Union remains squarely focused on the tasks at hand here in Contra Costa County to make healthcare more affordable for Local 21 members.
 
Last year our 9-Union Coalition won 100% coverage of all 2019 health plan premium increases as well as a new healthcare cost-sharing structure that normalizes the County’s contribution to our healthcare costs and saves Local 21 members thousands of dollars on premiums over the next 3 ½ years.
 
This year our 9-Union Coalition is working with County representatives at the Joint Labor-Management Benefits Committee (JLMBC) to find more affordable healthcare plans for our employee market, starting with a viable HealthNet replacement for the 2020 plan year, as well as to negotiate with the health plan carriers over their annual renewal rates to better control premium costs moving forward.
 
The JLMBC met Wednesday, January 16th to develop the criteria we want for any eventual HealthNet replacement. HealthNet premiums are no longer affordable for most employees, and the plan is unsustainable. The JLMBC wants the eventual Health Net replacement to not only be cost-competitive with Kaiser and CCHP, but also to include access to John Muir medical groups, a portable option, and have a strong network of clinics here in Contra Costa County. The next meeting of the JLMBC occurs this afternoon, February 6th, at which we will receive a presentation by the County’s healthcare consultants and discuss the process and timing of the upcoming rate renewal negotiations.   
 
We will keep Local 21 members informed of our progress at the JLMBC throughout the year. Please stand ready to voice any concerns to the County as needed during this process.
 
Visit our chapter website: http://ifpte21.org/chapters/contra-costa-county