March Bulletin


March 13, 2019
You CAN Talk About Your Union at Work

In a Memo dated June 27, 2018 that was issued to employees without any prior notice to or consent from IFPTE Local 21, Contra Costa County incorrectly advised that “no representative of County management or personnel should provide any written or verbal information or advice to any employee or prospective employee about union membership...This would also include distributing written information provided by a union – such as a membership form.

IFPTE Local 21 represents hundreds of County management representatives, many of whom were misled by the County’s memo to believe they were not allowed to talk about union membership with their coworkers. After making the County aware of our concerns with the June 27, 2018 memo, the County refused to issue a correction. In response, Local 21 filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge against the County, which we recently settled. The County issued a new Memo on February 6, 2019 clarifying that employees could in fact discuss their union at work. You can read the memo HERE in which the county affirms state law. You are allowed to talk union shop at work.

Fortunately, the County’s initial erroneous memo did not deter Local 21 members. Local 21 signed up more new union members last year than ever before, achieving an all-time high 93% membership in the Contra Costa County Chapter.

Regardless of whether you are a County management representative, as union-represented employees you have the right not only to talk about your union in the workplace, but also to encourage your colleagues to join Local 21. Please ask your few remaining non-member coworkers to do their fair share to make your union strong. Ask them to JOIN LOCAL 21 today.
Leadership Academy: Building Power in the Workplace So Workers Can Build Power in the Labor Movement!
“With the Contra Costa healthcare fight and political climate, I was excited to go to the Leadership Academy to learn how to better fight for our workplace rights. It was great to see other Local 21 members fired up, and I'm looking forward to building a stronger union with my colleagues!"

                     – Durae Sheppard, Contra Costa County Health Services Accountant 1
More than two hundred Local 21 members have participated in Local 21’s Leadership Academies across the Bay Area. Last year’s Contra Costa Leadership Academy explored how to build capacity in the wake of big business attacks on the public sector, how our work creating a stronger union fits into the larger labor movement, and how we can combat anti-labor and anti-public employee sentiment.

We put our Leadership Academy trainings into practice during our Affordable Healthcare Campaign, bringing nine unions together to successfully challenge the county’s unaffordable and unsustainable healthcare system. Now we are gearing up for more employee wins in 2019, which means we are coming together for another Leadership Academy!
Saturday, April 13th 2019
9:00 am - 1:30 pm
Local 21 Martinez Office (624 Ferry Street, Martinez)
9-Union Coalition Continues to Seek More Affordable Healthcare for Members
The first challenge for our Coalition working on the Joint Labor-Management Benefits Committee (JLMBC) is to find a quality replacement for Health Net starting in the 2020 plan year. The JLMBC’s goals for a Health Net replacement are clear:
  • The new insurer’s medical groups must include numerous local providers within the County. They must have both an HMO and PPO option.
  • They must have similar plan designs, but be more affordable than Health Net. 
  • They must include John Muir medical groups.

A primary goal is to minimize disruptions and help ensure that as few Health Net participants as possible will have to change doctors when Health Net is replaced starting in 2020.

Health Net premiums are no longer affordable for most County employees, and the plan has become unsustainable. The JLMBC recently finalized the Request for Proposal (RFP) that will be made available to all interested health plan carriers. We should know by late March which Health Insurers are bidding, and by late April the JLMBC will begin evaluating their proposals.

We will keep Local 21 members informed of the progress of the JLMBC throughout the year. Local 21 members should send any questions or concerns regarding the work of the JLMBC to your JLMBC representatives Sue Guest, Chapter President ( and Jenna Caldwell, Board Member. (
Survey Reminder
Your union wants to hear from you! Taking a short 10 minutes to give feedback on what you want Local 21 to focus on in the next years allows your colleagues on Local 21’s Executive Board to have a better idea of Contra Costa Employees’ priorities and concerns.

Filling out the survey not only confirms your voice will be heard but you will be eligible for a pair of FREE movie tickets! Local 21 is purchasing movie tickets from Union Plus(download the app or visit the website for exclusive deals for union members) to raffle off to three lucky members that complete the online survey.
Featured New Members

Mental Health Family Services Coordinator, Monique Harts-Washington, and Utilization Review Manager, Joyce Al-Islam, joined Contra Costa’s Health Services Department last week. As strong family, community, and healthcare advocates, they have both expressed interested in becoming more involved with union issues and attending steward trainings. Please join us in welcoming them to Local 21!

Local 21 would like to welcome the following new members who have joined us since October 2018. Thank you for joining and keeping your Union strong!