April Bulletin #2

Local 21 Attends April 16 Budget Hearing to Call for Socially Responsible Budget that Prioritizes Community and Worker Needs 

After enduring several months of fear mongering about budget cuts in Health Services Department and EHSD, IFPTE Local 21 members and members of several other County unions descended on the Board of Supervisors Budget Hearing last Tuesday, April 16th.
Members outlined the ways that underfunding and understaffing affect county residents seeking vital services. Members also publicly questioned the County’s budget process. Why, for example, have some Departments such as Health Services been pressuring employees for program cuts and threatening them with potential Bielenson Hearings and layoffs when the County has more than $250 Million in unassigned General Fund reserves? And why can’t the County recruit & retain staff in key areas when there are more than 1,500 vacant, funded positions in the Budget?
Speakers made two recommendations going into the next fiscal year:
1. The County should get structured and documented feedback from County Employees, including frontline staff, in all future budgets by creating a committee that includes represented county workers who are empowered to evaluate and advise on how the budget will affect the services that they provide.
2. One of the jobs of this committee should be to review surrounding county policies that have been effective in combatting food, housing, and job insecurity to ensure crucial programs are adequately funded and supported in the Budget, including exploring possible ways to capture more state and federal funds and secure other revenues to assist in service delivery.

Finally, members conveyed the message loud and clear on April 16th that it’s not OK to threaten program cuts and layoffs of County staff that would hurt service delivery, when there is not truly a funding crisis in our County.
By working with employees in Budget planning moving forward, the county can seize an important opportunity to get help from workers who see how budget policies materialize on the ground. We are stronger when we work together to plan for, fund and deliver services that address the communities’ needs.

Contra Costa International Workers' Day March to be held in Concord May 1st
*art by Favianna Rodriguez
5:00 pm - Gather at Meadow Homes Park
5:30 pm - March to Todos Santos
6:15 pm - Rally at Todos Santos Plaza
Join Local 21's contingent in Contra Costa County's May Day March!   

All children and families deserve an affordable and safe place to live. It's time for Concord City Council to TAKE ACTION NOW!

No Concord neighborhood is affordable for families who earn less than $50,000 a year. On this International Workers' Day, let's march to stop unjust evictions and skyrocketing rents.

#KeepFamiliesInConcord #RoofAndRefuge

For more information, please call (925) 771-7320 or keep updated by following Raise the Roof Concord on Facebook!
Contracting Out Chews Away at
Public Sector Job Security

*Original art by AFSCME 37 NYC anti-contracting out campaign. Edited for Contra Costa County Local 21

Contra Costa County is engaging outside contractors at rates never previously seen.In FY 2017-18 alone, the County spent more than $200 Million on outside contracting. Some of that contracting is needed and appropriate, such as when the County lacks expertise in a given area or when there is an urgent need for limited duration work the County can’t perform with in-house staff. However, some of the contracting is improper, and it seriously jeopardizes the careers of Local 21 members and all County employees.
This County is overrun with all sorts of questionable contracting practices, including by ex-employees who draw pension benefits from CCCERA while also receiving paychecks as newly employed contractors for the County. This is a sly way for the ex-employee to double-dip—affectedly benefitting from a pension other employees fund while no longer paying into that pension due to their contract worker status-- and an easy excuse for the County to avoid hiring permanent staff. But the County’s failure to maintain a pipeline of skilled, experienced in-house workers undermines all County permanent employees and puts future services at risk. As Local 21 positions disappear to ex-employee contractors, so do our promotional opportunities. And what happens when the County becomes totally reliant on a contractor who decides to retire? The County is then forced to start from scratch, which is far more costly than properly training staff for succession to more complex roles.
Whether ex-employees or larger contracts, Local 21 will continue to pressure Contra Costa County to prioritize permanent staffing. If it becomes more convenient or expedient for the County to contract out as opposed to putting itself in a better position to hire and retain permanent staff, it undermines our bargaining power and leverage for better wages and benefits. In the long run, it’s more cost-effective to hire, train, and maintain permanent staff than it is to fall back on outside contracting. Permanent staffing equates to better continuity of service and more accountability for the communities we serve. As professional public servants, we should demand no less.    
Local 21 held its second Regional Leadership Academy in Contra Costa County last weekend. Congratulations to our union leaders! 

Your Weingarten Rights

In 1975, the Supreme Court Ruled that employees have the right to union representation in a meeting that could result in disciplinary action. The county does not have the responsibility to inform you of this right; it is on you to state: 

"I am concerned that this meeting could result in disciplinary action being taken against me or affect my personal working conditions. I request my IFPTE Local 21 representative be present at this meeting. Without representation, I refuse to answer any questions."

It might be tempting to answer questions on the spot, in an effort to defend yourself but you have a union of 1100 workers strong that have your back and can help to defend you in workplace issues. You are legally entitled to your Weingarten Rights--Use them! 

Called into an investigatory meeting?

Remember: Don't answer questions and don't wait to call Local 21! 
Regional Update: Richmond's Local 21 Chapter is holding strong as they head into bargaining with the city. Members are showing up in force to demand their first Cost of Living Increase in four years #unionstrong