Our Union is Under Attack! - Feb. 2018



And if they win, a per-member pension cut of $235,553.97
might be just the beginning

As some of you know, anti-worker legislation backed by corporate big money interests and focused on destroying unions has been moving across the U.S. In states that have passed laws restricting or even eliminating core union rights, union membership is down, union power is diminished, pension and health benefits have suffered, and wages for both union and non-union workers in the state have fallen.

Public sector workers like us are the biggest focus of these attacks.

Until now, we have kept these forces at bay in CA. Big money interests have run campaigns where public workers are portrayed in a highly negative light, and many taxpayers and politicians are convinced they should vote to slash our pensions or reduce our benefits.  All throughout, we have been strong enough to fight them back. That could be about to change.

We know what will happen to Local 21 members if CA unions are weakened and destroyed, because they are already trying it - we have just been able to stop them. Take for example the major pension battle in San Jose against the billionaire Charles Munger Jr. and politicians Chuck Reed and Carl DeMaio. Had it been allowed to stand, the pension "reform" would have cost the average Local 21 worker who had 20 years of service $235,553.97 in lost benefits. Recently, the backers of this attack on our pensions have expressed their desire to take it to the ballot box state-wide. But they say they will wait until late 2018, after they believe unions will have been sufficiently weakened to be unable to fight back and win. That is because by far our biggest threat to date is coming our way in 2018.
Janus v. AFSCME is a case that will go before the Supreme Court in early 2018 that we expect will be decided against unions. It will mean that all public sector workers in the country will become "right-to-work" (for less).

Under the law, labor unions are required to represent and bargain for EVERYONE in the workplace, whether they are union members or not. Union members pay dues. Non-members pay fair share fees to cover the cost of unions representing them - and they get the same benefits under the contract that members do. Under "right-to-work" (for less), fair share fees would be eliminated. Local 21 members' dues would suddenly be paying for benefits for non-members, and our resources and power would fall at the same time.

They won't stop there. Once the case is law, a multi-million dollar campaign will be launched by anti-union forces to try to convince union members to drop their membership too. What they won't tell union members is: if their plan works, unions won't have the funding to stay afloat to provide "free" services for long. Their end game is to crush public sector unions and their political influence so that they can usher in an era of pension "reform," privatize services, run anti-worker candidates unchecked, and so on.
What does all of this mean for Local 21 Members in Contra Costa County?
Local 21 members in Contra Costa County organized for union representation and a voice on the job in 2009 after the County implemented wage cuts and a cap on employer contributions toward healthcare, resulting in skyrocketing medical costs for employees and their families. Local 21 constantly fights for more competitive wages and to restore competitive benefits for members. In 2016, Local 21 won a 3-year contract guaranteeing 10% across-the-board pay increases and more money to help with our increasing healthcare premiums.  In 2015, we lead the effort to form the Contra Costa Labor Health Care Coalition in order to compel the County to begin paying a higher share of health premiums for the first time since 2009. Local 21 continues to achieve progress curtailing the contracting out of members’ work. Local 21 regularly questions and challenges changes to County policy or other County actions that could adversely impact members’ careers, and we often win. Local 21 enforces labor laws and the collective bargaining agreement (MOU) while defending members’ rights on the job.
However, with this looming threat of the Janus vs. AFSCME case, we could lose our power, our momentum, and our protections if we don’t stick together and recommit to each other and Local 21.  We could lose all of the progress we have made.
So we are asking every Local 21 member, and every agency fee payer, to make the choice now and CHOOSE UNION. We need EVERYONE represented by Local 21 to sign a new membership card and recommit to Local 21 today! Recommitting to our Union, and to each other, is the only way we can fight back against this Janus threat, and it is the only way we can continue to fight effectively to improve pay and benefits, protect pensions, and ensure our rights on the job will continue to be protected and enforced moving forward.  

The good news is: if we do this right by organizing in the workplace, recommitting, and educating our coworkers together, we will emerge from this grave threat as a stronger union altogether.

We can't stop a Supreme Court case, but we don't have to!

We only lose our union and our power if we choose to do nothing. It's OUR choice!
Click Here to Sign a Gold Card
It's simple. We can choose union, and we can make sure our co-workers choose union too. The first step is to complete the new Local 21 Membership Card. We don't have to lose a single member, or weaken our power and resources to fight, at all. Just complete and sign the new Local 21 Gold Card today.

Also, Local 21 needs Volunteer Organizing Team (VOT) members to help us talk to everyone in the Union about recommitting to being a member of Local 21, and not letting anti-union interests tear us apart. If you will help talk to your co-workers about this, please contact a Chapter Leader or staff representatives Sean Stalbaum 
sstalbaum@ifpte21.org or Justin Decker jdecker@ifpte21.org right away. Or call us at the Martinez Office at (925) 313-9102.   

If we stick together in our Union, we can win real gains in Contra Costa County and achieve better careers for all Local 21-represented employees. Please sign the new Gold Card and become a VOT member today!

Health Services
                                  Sue Guest                                    
                                                Adam Down                                                  
                                          Peter Ordaz 
Karen Lloyd
Ayore Riaunda
Cindy Collins
Marc Miyashiro

Public Works
Margie Valdez
Jenna Caldwell
Jeff Valeros

Amrita Kaur
Gina Chenoweth

Conservation & Development
Gabriel Lemus

Scott Hutchison

Public Defender
Flo Fraesier
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