The SEIU 721 Riverside County bargaining team held the first membership and authorization meeting in Indio, Wednesday evening, and voting began. On Thursday, Nov. 17, 2011, a standing only crowd gathered at the Moreno Valley Conference Center to hear Chief Negotiator Wendy Thomas go through the difference in the County’s proposal and SEIU 721 bargaining team’s and then cast their vote (pictured above).
To assist members in understanding exactly what is at stake, the bargaining team has prepared a summary of the current positions at the bargaining table.
• Click here to download a pdf of the proposal comparison presentation given by SEIU 721 Chief Negotiator Wendy Thomas at the membership meeting in Moreno Valley, on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2011.
• Click here for a copy of the County’s LBFO to SEIU 721.
• Click here for a summary of the County’s LBFO submitted to SEIU 721 on 11/07/11.
• Click here for a summary of SEIU Local 721 bargaining team’s final proposal submitted to the County on 11/08/2011.
• Click here for SEIU 721 Chief Negotiator’s response to the County’s declaration of impasse.
For clarification, the voting process currently in effect is an authorization vote only. This vote is being taken to give the membership the opportunity to direct their elected SEIU 721 bargaining team to either accept or reject the County’s Last Best and Final Offer (LBFO).
If the membership votes YES to accept the County’s last offer, it will still go out for a ratification vote which will include the standard ballots mailed to the residence on record for every active SEIU 721 member in a Riverside County bargaining unit. A YES vote will lock all SEIU 721 members into the County’s LBFO for the next three years with no general wage increases to offset the rising cost-of-living expenses, no additional FLEX benefits to counter rising health care premiums, and an overall 5% permanent reduction in their take home pay with no guarantee of layoffs out of seniority. In addition, members would be accepting a “Fairness” Agreement that allows top managers and elected officials to reward themselves with unlimited increases in salary and benefits to offset their new retirement contributions or to cease making any contributions to their own pensions.
If the membership follows the unanimous recommendation of their SEIU 721 bargaining team and votes NO to reject the County’s last offer, the County has declared that it will impose its own Terms and Conditions of employment on SEIU 721 members similar to what it attempted to do in 2009. The Terms and Conditions of employment can be no worse than what is already included in their LBFO and they can only impose it for one year. During a period of imposition, there is no agreed upon contract or MOU in place and members may participate in multiple job actions, up to and including strikes. It is important for members to realize that the courts have already ruled that the County illegally imposed on SEIU 721 members in 2009 and has ordered them to make all affected employees “whole” including retroactive payment of all lost wages. With a NO vote on this LBFO, it will allow your SEIU 721 bargaining team to continue to demand county management to return to the bargaining table to negotiate in good faith for a successor MOU while pursuing all legal actions necessary to protect our members and make them whole again. Under current labor law, without an MOU in place, the County is already legally bound to return to the negotiation table in March 2012 to begin a new cycle of bargaining.
For a more detailed explanation of these offers and the impact of a YES or NO vote, please attend one of the scheduled meetings.
•Click here to download meeting times and location flyer.
Ballots must be received by Noon, Monday, Nov. 21 at the Riverside or Palm Desert SEIU 721 offices to be valid. Tallying begins on Monday, Nov. 21.