Crisis in L.A. County: Asking for the Humanly Impossible of Eligibility Workforce

Thousands of you joined our kick off with thousands of members outside of the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration (WATCH VIDEO), inspiring a call to raise ALL of L.A. County! Our bargaining is now well underway and we’re ensuring that we negotiate for wins that both our members and the communities they serve can be proud of.

You see, we’re not only negotiating for the betterment of our members, but also on the behalf of the many communities throughout L.A. County that depend on our hard work and the services our members provide.

On the compensation front, we’ve rejected the 7% salary increase over the next 2 years, which the County proposed. Coming off the heels of County workers sacrificing wage hikes for the last 5 years, we’re calling on the County to deliver a better proposal for 721 members. The County’s current proposal will do very little to alleviate the high cost of living for 721 members– a 7% salary increase will not cut it.

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If the County wants to be the “employer of choice,” then it needs to provide competitive wages to retain its quality workforce that so many in our communities depend on. The Community is tired of the endless lines at County facilities, and workers are also tired of the insane workload and not being able to provide services in a timely manner for every person that walks through County doors. They’re trying the best they can, and the County’s compensation offer does very little to alleviate the situation.

“SEIU members made sacrifices during the recession. Now that the County’s financial condition has improved, we need to catch up. The County’s salary proposal doesn’t cut it,” says Linda Dent, SEIU 721 Bargaining Policy Chair

In addition to equitable salary increases, SEIU’s bargaining committee is calling for many other improvements, including:

  • Respect and value experience with longevity
  • Increase staffing to meet the community needs
  • Update pay for Differentials and Weekend
  • Create a pathway to permanency for
    temporary County workers
  • Expand public transit subsidies for SEIU
    721 RideShare participants
  • Bring contracted out jobs back into the
  • Recognize Cesar Chavez as a new County

With the City of Los Angeles making history this month in adopting a $15/hr minimum wage policy, it’s time for the County to also get with the program, and we’ve made this a priority for a contract. We’re seeking a $15 minimum wage for SEIU 721 County workers, contract workers and workers in unincorporated L.A. County.

On April 15 we didn’t mince our words, we are bargaining to lift up ALL of LA County and we will not take no for an answer! Stay tune for more updates.When L.A County’s most vulnerable families are in need of critical services including access to life-saving medical care, their first stop has to be getting their case approved through an L.A. County Eligibility Caseworker. However Eligibility Caseworkers are being asked to do the humanly impossible: to individually process the cases of over 3,000 families! That’s right, throughout L.A. County, Eligibility Workers and Clerical Staff are drowning in a sea of cases with urgent demands from more and more families in desperate need and a system that has yet to catch up.


Over the last 2 years, eligibility workers have seen their cases reach record level numbers. The recession, stagnation at the low end of the wage scale, and the system’s lack of preparation to implement the Affordable Care Act have all clashed together to create an unprecedented crisis with an overwhelming number of cases landing in the hands of L.A. County Eligibility Caseworkers.

To make matters worse, the 2015-2016 proposed L.A. County budget calls for 800 fewer staff than what was budgeted prior to the 2008 recession!

“It’s humanly impossible for each DPSS worker to serve over 3,000 families, just a couple of years ago normal caseloads were just a few hundred.  There are real consequences for the elderly man or woman who’s in desperate need of dialysis but I can’t help because of the backlog. How can I look at them in the eye, and say, sorry come back next month? These are life or death situations,” said Sandra Ellefson, from the El Monte District Office.

L.A. County’s Eligibility Workers have had enough! They are mobilizing and plan to show up in full-force on June 22nd during the L.A. County Board of Supervisor’s budget vote to make the call for “More Faces, Less Cases!”

As families suffer from the backlog, Eligibility Workers do too! Eligibility workers are reporting never-ending mental stress, and in many cases, physical pain from trying to adequately service every single case that lands on their desk.

It’s time for our County Board of Supervisors to see for themselves the thousands of cases backlogged and the long lines of people in desperate need of critical services. It’s time to they each hear directly from DPSS workers about how they are forced to skip lunches and breaks in a desperate attempt to get to as many cases a day as possible.

Throughout L.A. County DPSS worksites, Eligibility Workers signed giant-sized poster boards inviting the L.A. County Board of Supervisors to come and walk a day in their shoes. This week the oversized invitations are being hand-delivered to each supervisor asking them to join workers for a day and see firsthand why LA County needs to fix this crisis now.

The time is now for every Eligibility Worker to join the call for “More Faces, Less Cases.”  Get involved.

When SEIU 721 members stand together, Caseworkers and their clients win.

Join Eligibility Workers MONDAY JUNE 22 from 9am -12pm, download full flyer here.