Bargaining Update: Message From Chief Negotiator to Members

The entire SEIU 721 bargaining team understands this time of uncertainty is extremely stressful as many of our members have questions and concerns regarding Riverside County’s last offer. Legally we are still in active bargaining and negotiations are not open to the general public or media. At this time, the Last, Best and Final Offer (LBFO) is considered in the same manner as any other proposal the county has exchanged across the bargaining table that does not allow for us to post for public viewing. This is one of the main reasons why SEIU 721 demands transparency in keeping bargaining sessions open to members who have a vested interest in the process and why it is so important to come witness the discussions firsthand.
To be clear, there are no final agreements up for ratification that have been approved by the bargaining team. Although the bargaining team was elected by members to represent them at the negotiation table, the team unanimously felt that due to the critical nature of the county’s final offer and the significant long term impacts of any decision, the right thing to do was to take it to the membership for an authorization vote to either accept or reject the offer. 
Today, Thursday Nov. 10, in a further show of bad faith and in an attempt to silence the voices of its dedicated employees, the county refused to extend their deadline for a response. The bargaining team believes the Board of Supervisors intends to impose harmful cuts on members and do not want to allow SEIU 721 members a fair opportunity to review the LBFO and let their voices be heard on a decision that may negatively impact the next three years of our lives.
It is imperative that members make every effort to attend the membership meeting on Thursday, Nov. 17, at Moreno Valley Conference Center
, where myself and the SEIU 721 bargaining team will provide a detailed explanation of the county’s final offer before holding an authorization vote. For those unable to attend Thursday’s meeting, every effort is being made to schedule other membership meetings and places to vote along with the two SEIU 721 offices in Riverside and Palm Desert. Please visit this website for updates or call the office (951) 248-4620 for more information.

Wendy Thomas, SEIU 721 Chief Negotiator, 911 Communications Supervisor
Categories: Inland Area

0 responses to “Bargaining Update: Message From Chief Negotiator to Members

  1. If we are unable to attend the meeting is there a way to vote on-line?

    Can we get some information regarding what is currently being negotiated?

    We hear 5% pay cuts, 8% for retirement, possible furlough.

  2. NO WAY! Absolutley NOT!
    Fairness Agreement stays!
    Fairness Agreement is the only thing that stops County Management from giving all kinds of raises and sweet deals to non-represented Supervisors only.
    Supervisors have had “Parity Studies” and got raises. They got a better deal on the furloughs as well. My position have NOT had a Parity Studies for 10 years now! I have not gotten a raise for over 10 years and it looks like NO Parity Studies will be done for another 10 years or EVER~!

  3. Can we please have the County’s offer to evaluate as soon as possible prior to any meeting. A way to vote online would be nice!

  4. The Update and voting meeting in the Desert is Wednesday, we will try to get word out to as many people as possible before the Thursday meeting in Moreno Valley but you really need to attend either way.

    Everyone should cancel their plans and be at one of the voting opportunities.

    If we take just an 8% cut over 3 years that is BIG MONEY. If 8% of your gross is $300 a paycheck your LOSS is $23,400 yes that is Twenty Three Thousand Four Hundred Dollars!!!! for the same or more work and you can’t attend the meeting??? Add another 5% to that and possible furloughs and it will seem that we will be paying the County to work here instead of them paying us.

    If you don’t vote – don’t complain and if you have that much extra money laying around there are many families affected by this that could use it so send it to them.

    Remember there are two ways to vote and not attend a meeting and that is to stop by the Riverside Union office or the Palm Desert Union office, addresses are on this site. Friday November 18th 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or Saturday November 19, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

    No excuse to not vote you have four opportunities.

  5. Dear Wendy
    What happens on 11/17/11 if we do not agree to final offer? and for clrification what is proposed final offer.

  6. Why haven’t we received a copy of the proposed agreement so we can discuss it with our families and know what we are being asked to vote on?

  7. Vote on what?! We’re not being given any info. Are we seriously supposed to hear an hour long run down and then vote on the next 3 yrs of our lives without talking to our families?! Post the proposal and let us read it.

    Is it 3 yrs? Is there another 5% cut? Furloughs again?! We were told that wasn’t even a proposal because it didn’t work! Really we need the details of what we’re supposed to vote on.

  8. One thing for sure: I’ll be voting NO, as should everyone else that has any concerns for their future earnings and fair treatment from County Management, and if they want to be treated as people instead of numbers, from this time forward. If there is anything at all that we can’t do without is the Fairness Agreement, not to mention that this the worse offer the County has ever presented to our union and their members, us the employees who have already given enough for a problem that we did not cause.
    We are being bullied by the County Supervisors and they will continue to do so if we don’t stand for what is right and fair. People get involved! All the Supervisors see are a few very brave employees taking a stand so they think we can easily run us over because the others don’t seem to care. It’s a shame that when I go to the Union meetings, no one from my floor or even anyone I can recognize from the entire CAC building is there. When I ask, they don’t even know what the County is proposing, or what is at stake. All they say is that our union has done nothing for them! News to them, we are the UNION. My hat’s off to all those hard working volunteers who have given so much of themselves to protect our rights and to hold up the wall between the outright monarchy and nepotism that the County Management is trying to impose on us. And yes, I haven’t received cost of living adjustments over 3 years, no merit increases over 3 years, contributed with my 10% furlough, took over the work of others when we lost 6 people from our staff, saw golden handshakes given out only to have those retirees comeback ‘part time’, saw the renovation of the 7th floor Taj Mahal, with whose money? while our office furniture falls apart, and I do remember the County Supervisors giving themselves unanimous salary increases just like that, I also know all the perks and high salaries management enjoys so no cuts re going to hurt them at all even if the enacted on them which they haven’t yet. Annd I can go on and on, but it seems that we, the employees must pay for this economic shortfall because ‘something has to give’. Rally, it’s time we show up and stand up for ourselves. The time is now or we are going to have to live with the consequences, but I don’t want to hear complaints from the members who did nothing!

  9. We have always in the past received the proposed agreements as they arrived. This year in addition to the county bulls— us our Union is bulls— us. I want to see the agreement before I attend any meeting to vote on it. I don’t trust my Union now and in the past I have.

  10. Am I the only member who reads the update from Wendy.

    Details of the final offer are not possible to be posted publicly at this time, as it remains confidential, as is the entire negotiating process. If you want to hear and know the details so you can make a decision before a vote, you should attend bargaining sessions, meetings and get involved.

    This is nothing new. Bargaining has been going on for over four months. Where have you been? Do you really know what is at stake?

    I am sorry and saddened to hear my fellow members always complaining, yet doing nothing. All the negative comments in the office only promote further anger, disappointment and confusion. Those who have knowledge have power. Get the Power! Attend a meeting. Vote to save the financial future of you and your family.

    Even if you are the individual who is economically safe and have no reason for fear, having no mortgage, health issues, or bills to worry about. Maybe you see the promise of a bright future in management (By not getting Involved and Speaking for Yourself). You owe it to the others who work alongside you and share the burden of our responsibility to serve and protect our community.

    As a member of community, it is everyone’s’ right and responsibility to be heard, to know what is at stake, and to promote safety and security in the workplace.

    The thought that some members would not vote makes me wonder what else would they not be willing to do to help a co-worker. In an earthquake, a flood, a fire, the defense of the homeless and sick? Really! Do yo think you live on this planet all alone? Get involved.

    Think of the people you serve, think of your family, your financial future and the future of the members and workers for the County who will follow. What legacy do you want to leave them.

    At this time you enjoy benefits, retirement, sick and holiday pay, assistance with insurance through flex benefits, etc. All these benefits have been brought to you by the struggles of former union members and perhaps by yourself at a time when you really cared.

    Don’t give in to the lies and untruths you hear around the office. Learn for yourself what is at stake. Only then can you make a judgement call and vote the vote that is your own choice based on facts you know.

  11. Where have the incentives gone to work for this county.
    1. No step increases
    2. No County contributions
    3. No cost of living

    Employees have made Riverside County their 2nd home if not their only home, so why penalize us for dedication and hard work.

    Hows this sound?

    0-5 years – employee pays 8% into their retirement
    6-10 years – county pays 2% employee pays 6%
    11-15 years – county pays 4% employee pays 4%
    16-20 years – county pays 6% employee pays 2%
    20 years or more – county pays 8%

    This way employees should be rewarded for their dedication of service.
    Have a survey done on how long employees have worked and this could save the county now.
    If we have to pay into our OWN retirement, then why do the BOS get to say how much I have to pay into it? It should be up to me.

  12. I just received a detailed email letter from the County HR Director that provides information on issues that SEIU has not. If this information is confidential and SEIU cannot share it with it’s members, then why do we hear about it from County HR? I would like to get information from my Union… FYI, there are no meetings on Nov. 17th that are within 40 miles of where I work in SW Riverside County.

  13. I want to know why the County can provide the employees with the details of the agreement but the UNION cannot? Is is not confidential for them as well. As for the comment if you are worried about what’s at stake you should attend the meetings, well I know I speak for alot of my co-workers when I say that we have to request vacation time to attend a meeting that may or may not happen. What do we pay the UNION for? I thought our dues were to pay you “the UNION” to represent us.

  14. I am confused as well as other members it seems. Are we being asked to make our final vote on Thursday? I recall in the past we received something in the mail and returned out vote. If this is the case I agree with the others, one hour to review material is not practical.

    I plan to attend to understand everything – and hope that the decision is not expected to be made on Thursday.

  15. Dear Pat,

    Well now you know that the County is asking you to work for the next three years, each year for less money and that is from Barbara Olivier herself. Discuss with your family what you will cut from your budget over the next three years and if that works for you don’t vote – not voting is a yes vote to take the cut – or vote no and attempt to save your paycheck. Each of us has to make our own decision. I will vote and I will vote NO.

  16. Hey Debra do not believe everything that you read in an email. The information is supposed to be confidential and folks are starting to play dirty. The HR Director aka Barbara Olivier (BO) has access to all employees’ emails. What she did was cowardly. BO even added the SEIU website to the email just to add salt to the wound. So here we are… That’s the way HRs, and negotiations, roll. The elected bargaining team members aka county employees play by the rules; the county makes their own rules. When times get hard folks get desperate. The timing of this email was orchestrated to frustrate folks just like you, and from the response I am reading so far it has worked, for some. You elected county employees to represent you on the bargaining team right? Have you thought that BO from HR may have sent this email to play dirty? It worked didn’t it? Do you think her job may be on the line if this doesn’t pan out for her or the chief negotiator? This is the first time that the county has actually put confidential information out to the public. The rest of the pertinent information is HIDDEN. Do you even know what the HR minions earn? Do you know what benefit package they get? If you knew you would not be happy with the so called gift aka “a good deal” that BO has dished out so pretty in a two page letter. Oh my. HR and the Board of Supervisors are not your bffs. Why do you think folks are still negotiating? If SEIU had such a great deal don’t you think that we you would be the first to know? BO told the members up close and personal that this is POLITICAL. Do you really think that the bargaining team, county employees, would stir you down the wrong street? Do you really think that they would be less then truthful to you? Do you really trust the Director of HR? Come on… Do you think it would be a good idea to shared all of the strategies to members prior to making a deal, so that BO (HR) can use it against the 6000 employees represented by SEIU? If you take only one thing from this message know that you are only a number, working for less, with no COLA for several years, no health benefit increases, no step increases, topped out, over worked and under paid, most likely working out of class. Do remember that this is a political game. Do not sell yourself short. We are a union of 6000 with SEIU only. We are the boss of the board of supervisors, and HR. Remember without us there are no them. We need to stand up for our fundamental rights. Now back to your concern. If you want the real dirty little details that HR has candy coating via Barbara’s message go to the meeting tomorrow in Moreno Valley, it is less than 40 miles from your SW dwelling.

    If all else fails attended a bargaining session? I have and it is an eye opener. They don’t like to see you there and they look very guilty, so be warned. Warning you may hear details that will infuriate you, if they are actually talking on that day. You have fundamental rights, don’t sell yourself short. Don’t let them take your rights away from you…Just saying…

  17. Hi Bob – You will have the opportunity to dissect the county last, best, and final offer tomorrow at the MV meeting. You will also hear what the bargaining team would like to put on the table. Then you decided. When it is time to ratify the contract by all means it will go out via US mail. We were not given the opportunity to have something set up online as time was of the essence. I hope to see you tomorrow. Good night.

  18. There is no agreement. Only what the Director of HR put out in an email blast today. Hint, she candy coated it. She said its a good deal, She left off, take it, or leave it. She concluded with we are laying off 600 people. That is mean and underhanded. But that is the county. Desperate means… Go to the meeting, bring your family, get informed. This is not a meeting to ratify the contract. The bargaining team is still attempting to negotiate with the county. The county is not playing fair they are only putting out information in bits and pieces to upset the members. They are trying to concord and divide.. Don’t let them do that to you… Tell a friend. Get informed. They are playing dirty….

  19. I am commenting on those who ask what am I voting on? I ask to all the question, have you heard Board Members or management take any pay cuts? Why not give us a proposal that starts with cuts from the top. Why is it that cuts always have to come from the bottom? Show me responsibility. Did workers get us into this alleged financial crisis? NO!!!. Lets vote and make the top understand that we are not disposable human beings and that we did not create this alleged financial crisis. Lets demand that if they want to balance their books, that they (Board members and management) need to give up their perks and start taking responsiblity for their finacial squanderings.

  20. Thanks to all who marched in downtown Riverside Tuesday night. I could feel the proactive energy. To all others who did not attend, SEIU and LIUNA have thousands of members, with a few hundred living or working near the march area. Where were YOU. The board of supervisors judges our strength by our willingness to let our voice be heard. Our roar is transformed into a squeak when members do not participate in activities to help themselves and their future. Thank you Bargaining Team, the months you have spent speaking/being the voice of the members and all your hard work is apreciated.

  21. How about this for a reason not to vote…you may represent the “desert” but we have seen one union rep in my 14 years here. We must drive 1.5 hours..each way to vote on something we can’t get a copy of. Maybe if you actually represented us we wouldn’t mind, but getting a rep from the union to Blythe happens less than once in a blue moon.

  22. Interesting article in P.E. about Supervisors approve self-funding by officials.

    1300 employees (Management, elected officials, etc.) would save the county $14.2 million

    6000 employees (SEIU) would save the county $23.6 million

    ** Over 3 years **

    Do the math people. Obviously Management, etc. makes alot of money. If they could save that much with only 1300 staff, I’m sure they could give more.
    If I’m wrong please correct me.

  23. Childrenneedus, obviously you are more trusting than I am, and I recommend you don’t believe everything you read. My experience with unions for the past 35 years has not been good and I don’t like them interpreting things for me. It’s also my understanding that when the County declares and impasse and makes it’s “Last and Final Offer” it signals the end of negotiation so the offer should not be confidential at that point.

  24. I was there and I can totally agree. I was glad to see so all the people there but sad that we weren’t more. I was the only one form my section, the only one from my entire TLMA Admin. floor!!!! and even still I did not recognize anyone from the CAC building, and I know a lot of people after working here for over 23 years. That whole parking lot should have been full. If people only went to one meeting, they will start getting the feel of things and understand what is going on and how critical is that we join forces and show strenght.
    But it’s not over, please attend the meeting(s). You won’t regret it!!! It’s more important than you can imagine.