With the New Year comes a new contract for all our LA County members – which means another round of contract bargaining! To get everyone prepared, we held the “Agenda ’18: LA County Bargaining Conference” at The Reef in downtown LA on Sat., Dec. 2.
“This conference is the perfect opportunity for our LA County members to help shape our contract bargaining agenda for next year,” said SEIU 721 Vice President Linda Dent. “Our union delivers the best results when our members are active in the contract bargaining process from the start. That’s what Agenda ’18 is all about.”
Attendees got a crash course on the bargaining timeline for 2018; the key issues our union expects to face; the state of LA County’s finances; and our lessons learned from past bargaining campaigns. Members also received an update on the political landscape – including a forecast on how upcoming US Supreme Court decisions in Washington, DC may impact bargaining here at home and how anti-union attacks by the Freedom Foundation are coming to California in the New Year.
Participants then attended workshops on a variety of topics. New DCFS Director Bobby Cagle introduced himself LA County social workers members, shared his vision for tackling long-standing child safety issues and then answered questions directly from attendees. GAIN/GROW Service Workers held a lively strategy session, where members swapped ideas on different ways to organize for a fair contract. Health Services workers concentrated on staffing shortages – a common concern for 721 members in healthcare facilities throughout LA County’s vast service area.
Temporary county employees shared their experiences working in the Department of Beaches & Harbors, the Department of Parks & Recreation and the Public Library, among others – and how their respective paths led them to join together at SEIU 721 to fight for, and win, permanent status. Eligibility Workers focused on ways to eliminate unnecessary paperwork.
Elsewhere, members attended workshops ranging from topics like securing health and retirement benefits to eliminating bully bosses. Everyone got information on how to join a contract bargaining team.
Our special guest, Speaker Pro-Tem Kevin De Leon of the California State Senate, delivered the lunchtime keynote address. The State of California’s finances always affect LA County’s bottom line and – as the departing leader of the State Senate who has consistently championed working families – De Leon offered a fascinating and helpful perspective on the challenges facing our union in Sacramento as well as potential opportunities for us to partner with members of the State Legislature who understand the importance of maintaining a strong middle class in California.
Earlier during the conference, everyone took part in a mass quiz about LA County and the bargaining process – and participants who answered all questions correctly were automatically entered into a raffle. We closed Agenda ’18 by giving our raffle winner – Rhonda King of the Sheriff’s Department – a lovely gift package plus a $250 gift card for Hotels.com that is good at over 150,000 hotels worldwide!
We also announced our “Bad Building Contest” to identify the worst building in LA County! Members are encouraged to submit photos and share stories documenting facilities in serious need of major repairs. For more information on the contest, call Member Connection at (877) 721-4YOU.
Together, we win!