Want to read your Bargaining Unit summary? Click here to go to our LA County Vote Contract ’18 web page!
You can read all the details about:
- General Movement salaries and fringe benefits in the proposed Tentative Agreement (TA)
- Information pertaining specifically to your job classification in your Bargaining Unit (BU)
Voting will take place starting on October 22 and continue through November. You can vote on the LA County Vote Contract ’18 web page starting on October 22.
(Reminder: BUs 311, 312 and 702 are still in negotiations. LA County Courts and Sanitation District employees are exempt since they bargain separately.)
We also rounded up all your questions from our last update – and we have a fresh new supply of answers below!
Q and A
Question #1: I heard that the L.A. County nurses in Bargaining Units 311 and 312 rejected L.A. County’s last, best and final offer and that they are preparing to vote on whether or not to strike. Is that true?
Answer #1: Yes.
Question #2: If I am an L.A. County nurse in BU 311 or 312, how does the strike vote affect me?
Answer #2: If you are a member of BU 311 or 312, click here to get all the answers to your questions.
Question #3: If I am not an L.A. County nurse in BU 311 or 312, will their strike vote affect me?
Answer #3: No. Your contract ratification is separate. Everything your Bargaining Unit agreed to will be voted on by you and your Bargaining Unit members on a track that will be separate from the L.A. County nurses.
Question #4: Do the raises apply to everyone? And is SEIU still negotiating with the Courts?
Answer #4: Yes, the raises and $1,000 bonus apply to all full-time permanent L.A. County members. SEIU is still negotiating with the Courts.
Question #5: Does the raises apply to child support officers?
Answer #5: Yes.
Question #6: Is the half step for those employees who by 2021 have maxed out their salary and therefore are in their last step – or is it the case that, in 2021, everyone regardless what step they are in will get the additional half step?
Answer #6: Everyone will get the half step after they’ve been on top step for one year.
Question #7: For the Flex Earnings if someone previously had $450 left over after choosing their cafeteria benefits on a monthly basis, will that amount now be capped at $224 in 2021?
Answer #7: Yes. There will be a cap in 2021 but it is $244 not $224.
Question #8: Can someone list the classifications whose members are getting a higher raise vs. what bargaining units are still in negotiations?
Answer #8: 10.75% is the across-the-board raise. Most SEIU members will receive more than this because they will receive additional salary “inequity” increases. The tentative agreement summaries, which will be mailed to members’ homes, distributed at worksites and posted online. It will list all of these “inequity” salary increases.
Question #9: Why does the union always accept an increase in parts? For example, a 7% increase is broken into the three years instead of fighting for the full 7% increase to begin on the day the increase begins? In effect workers receive the full increase only the last year. We are constantly losing money when it is broken up like this. This to me seems that the union is only fighting for cost of living increases.
Answer #9: Like all employers, L.A. County budgets by fiscal year. They do not receive their revenues all at once, so they don’t want to pay for salaries all at once. Generally, your elected bargaining committees push for more money earlier in the contract, while L.A. County tries to put the increases later in the term. The result is usually a compromise.
Question #10: Will we still have a co-pay for healthcare?
Answer #10: Yes. The new contract does not change the benefit designs. Changes to benefit designs are handled through a labor/management Benefits Administration Committee (BAC).
Question #11: Will we get better eye care plans?
Answer #11: See answer to Question 10.
Question #12: Will MegaFlex employees get the raises and the $1,000 bonus? Can someone explain if the CAP on flex earning will affect Mega Flex non-exempt employees?
Answer #12: We don’t know yet how the County plans to treat MegaFlex employees. The MegaFlex benefits plan is not negotiated by SEIU 721. However, those MegaFlex employees represented by SEIU 721 will receive at least the across-the-board salary increases and the $1,000 bonus.
Question #13: When will we get the $1,000 bonus?
Answer #13: We will get the bonus as soon as the contract is ratified by SEIU 721 members and approved by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors. Our goal is to make sure that this happens before Christmas, i.e. on the December 14, 2018 payday.
Question #14: Will we be taxed on the $1,000 bonus?
Answer #14: Yes. All pay is taxed.
Question #15: When will our contracts be ratified?
Answer #15: The voting will begin on October 22 and it will continue through mid-November.
Question #16: What will L.A. County do with all the money they will be saving on the Flex Earned reduction?
Answer #16: The money saved is being spent to increase our raises. Keep in mind that other L.A. County unions were offered or received only 7% across-the-board increases, while the SEIU 721 agreement is 10.75% across-the-board with most members receiving at least 12.25%.
Question #17: Regarding our lowest-paid members, why are there any at that low level of pay?
Answer #17: SEIU 721 made it a point to address the lowest wages by getting L.A. County to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. As of July 1, 2018, all L.A. County workers now receive at least $15 per hour.
Question #18: Is it true that Flex Earnings need to be used in purchasing life insurance, and if you don’t use it that way you lose it?
Answer #18: No, that is generally not true. However, for those members with Kaiser Family coverage whose Flex Earnings will be capped in 2020 and 2021, it does make sense to purchase some life insurance or put money in health care spending accounts because you will be able to do so free of charge.
Question #19: Can you give a status update on “inequity” salary increases for the Network System Administrator job series? They work alongside Operation Systems Analyst doing the same exact work but are not reviving the same pay.
Answer #19: There are no plans at this time to rectify this inequity since Network Systems Administrators did not submit an equity presentation to their Bargaining Unit.
Question #20: Why does L.A. County allow two hours to vote but can’t give time for attending things like the Stand United for LA County march?
Answer #20: The Stand United for LA County march was an action by SEIU 721 aimed at winning a stronger contract. It was not supported by L.A. County.
Question #21: How was the communication conveyed to go on the Board of Supervisors meeting on October 2nd? Was there a mass email sent out?
Answer #21: SEIU 721 sent out mass communication for the Sept. 25 march because it was a union-organized event. We disbursed numerous e-mails; distributed thousands of flyers; and posted about the event heavily on Facebook, Instagram and our SEIU 721 website. The Oct. 2 event was not union-organized; it was held independently by a group of SEIU 721 members. So our union did not promote it.
Question #22: What does Flores v. City of San Gabriel have to do with a flex earnings cap? That lawsuit was brought because flex earnings weren’t included in the premium overtime calculation even though it was included as employee wages and taxed. What is the lawsuit currently brought against LA County regarding Flex Earnings?
Answer #22: In June, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled in Flores vs. the City of San Gabriel that the City’s flexible benefits plan was not a “bona fide” health plan because too much of the monetary contribution was used to increase pay rather than to purchase medical or dental benefits. This resulted in huge unanticipated costs for the city and compelled the restructuring of the health plan. L.A. County’s Options (for SEIU 721) and Choices (for other L.A. County unions) health plans are similar to the City of San Gabriel in that a large portion of L.A. County’s contribution currently is paid to employees as “Flex Earnings” or “Taxable Cash Back.” Several lawsuits have been filed that challenge the “bona fide” status of L.A. County’s health plans. If one of these lawsuits were to be successful, and Options’ “bona fide” status is lost, the consequences for L.A. County – and, and ultimately for SEIU 721 members – could be catastrophic. In order to safeguard the integrity of our Options health plan, your elected bargaining team agreed to negotiate reductions in Flex Earnings if – and only if – L.A. County agreed to greater improvements in salaries, i.e. more than the 7% which had been the settlement with other L.A. County unions.
Question #23: Who is the half step for? Is it for employees that have maxed out their salary and therefore are in their last step? Or in 2021 everyone regardless what step they are in will get the additional half step?
Answer #23: The half step is for everyone. It will be part of the new salary schedule. Employees will receive the additional 2.75% once they reach the top step (but not before January 1, 2021).
Question #24: I have a question about the 1.5 extra pay to low pay employees. Does this also include Secretarial positions too or not?
Question #24: Thousands of lower paid clerical positions were offered the 1.5% “inequity” increase, but not the Secretarial series.
Question #25: Can someone explain if the CAP on flex earning will affect Mega Flex non-exempt employees?
Answer #25: We don’t know yet how L.A. County plans to treat MegaFlex employees. The MegaFlex benefits plan is not negotiated by SEIU 721.
Question #26: What about relief nurses? We are not included on the 10.75% increase. What are we getting, and why are we getting excluded?
Answer #26: The basic agreement for temporary employees (including Relief Nurses) is a 7% increase – and, in some cases, “inequity” salary increases. Relief Nurses have been offered additional salary improvements at the RN bargaining table but an agreement has not yet been reached. More information for members of BU 311 and 312 can be found by clicking here.
Question #27: Is it true only certain employees are getting the 10.75% raise and the $1,000 bonus?
Answer #27: All permanent, full time employees get at least the 10.75% plus the $1,000 bonus. Most employees will receive more than this.
Question #28: Is the $1000 bonus considered pensionable compensation?
Answer #28: No. Bonuses are not pensionable.
Question #29: Are we close to voting?
Answer #29: Tentative Agreement (TA) summaries can be found here. Ballots are being prepared. Voting will begin on October 22.
Question #30: I would like an update on the LVNs. Are we going to get an additional increase? Are we going to get longevity pay like the RNs? RNs received longevity pay. What happen to the LVNs and the CNAs?
Answer #30: RN’s do not receive longevity pay. The Licensed Vocational Nurse agreement includes the across-the-board 10.75% increase plus an additional 4% salary “inequity” for a total of 14.75%.
Question #31: What about the EW bargaining unit? I heard nothing in regards to our increases and a lot of us were very PRESENT at the rally??? The increase will not help anyone until 3 years from now and the $1,000 bonus seems like more of a consolation prize.
Answer #31: The Eligibility Worker agreement includes the 10.75% across-the-board increase plus an additional 1.5% “inequity increase” for a total of 12.25% plus the $1,000 bonus.
Question #32: What about salary for surgical technologist?
Answer #32: The Surgical Technicians were offered a 4% salary “inequity” on top of the basic 10.75% salary increase for a total of 14.75% along with the $1,000 bonus.
Question #33: Was there any pay increase for Clerical since we are often underrepresented in these negotiations?
Answer #33: Yes. Most clerical classifications will receive a salary increase of at least 12.25%.
Question #34: Does this include Intermediate Clerk Typist?
Answer #34: Yes.
Question #35: So what is this $1,000? Was it received through pay gap analysis or pay scale studies and comparisons; which means it should mean it is now part of our monthly income?
Answer #35: No. The bonus was offered primarily to cover any Flex Earnings reductions in 2019.
Question #36: Does this contract – with the raises and the $1,000 bonus – include court reporters also?
Answer #36: No. Court Reporters are still bargaining with the Superior Court.
Question #37: Could some please clarify what the “individual bargaining tables” are? For example: Would the Dept. of Mental Health bargain independently? Or is it that all of the Clerks in the county bargain independently? I thought everyone belonging to 721 gets the same terms.
Answer #37: All members belong to individual Bargaining Units that negotiate for their specific contract, or “Memorandum of Understanding” (MOU). The Bargaining Committee negotiates for the general movement of all L.A. County members, no matter what Bargaining Unit they are in; for example, common language and fringe benefits (medical and dental), which benefit the whole body of the union. But each individual Bargaining Unit will negotiate for the individual needs of the classifications they represent; uniforms, telecommuting rules and inequity pay, for example. Bargaining Units 121 and 122 – which are for Clerical and Supervisory Clerical members – actually have 154 different classifications within them.
Answer #38: Has anyone ever thought of removing the AP for DPSS employees?
Answer #38: Check your individual Bargaining Unit summary for more information by clicking here.
Question #39: So we no longer will get cash back if we don’t use our full benefit allowance?
Answer #39: No. There will still be cash back for Flex Earnings, just not as much.
Question #40: Also if we pick other benefit options in addition to the health and dental plans then do we have to pay out of pocket?
Answer #40: No – not unless medical premiums skyrocket.
Question #41: Are they only covering the cheapest benefits options for health and dental?
Answer #41: No.
Question #42: If we pick a higher priced medical and dental plan do we have to pay out of pocket for that?
Answer #42: Some members who choose the highest-priced plans are already paying out of pocket.
Question #43: “Some of our lower-paid employees, will receive additional salary increases above the 10.75%.”…. I am one of the lower paid employees. I started at $14.50 per hour I am at $16.41 now. How will I know if I am considered an additional increase?
Answer #43: It’s based on your classification. L.A. County offered “inequity” increases to may classifications including most, but not all, lower-paid classifications.
Question #44: How can we get a “Type File Extra Mile” shirt?
Answer #44: The original shirts were made independently by members of Bargaining Units 111 and 112, specifically for individuals who were involved in contract negotiating. However, we will be printing a new round very soon and will notify all members of BU 111 and 112 via email, text and social media when the T-shirts are available in the SEIU 721 Purple Up Store.
Question #45: How much of this concerns new employees? Say you just passed probation… How long would one have to be a member for this to be of benefit immediately to you?
Answer #45: New employees will get all of these raises, bonuses, etc., however you will only receive the 2.75% half step when you reach the top step of the salary schedule.
Question #46: What about the pay inequities with the park superintendent series?
Answer #46: Check your individual Bargaining Unit summary for more information by clicking here.
Question #47: Does this includes retirees?
Answer #47: No.
Question #48: Do you have an update on Community Health Worker inequity?
Answer #48: The Community Health Worker agreement includes a 1.5% salary “inequity” on top of the 10.75% across-the-board raise for a total of 12.25 %, plus the $1000 bonus.
Question #49: The $1000.00 bonus across the board. Would that be a time payment or the $1000.00 addition to be applied to our salaries monthly?
Answer #49: It’s a one-time-only bonus.
Question #50: Can you tell me if the CIT coaches were granted a stipend?
Answer #50: Check your individual Bargaining Unit summary for more information by clicking here.
Question #51: Any update on grid movement for PHNs?
Answer #51: The RN bargaining committee has not reached an agreement with L.A. County.
Question #52: What does the $1000 bonus across the board entail?
Answer #52: It’s a one-time payment of $1,000 in addition to regular pay. It will be received once the agreement is ratified by SEIU 721 members and approved by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors.
Question #53: Is there any news on Unit 121 – Admin Tech? I have not heard a thing during this whole process.
Answer #53: The Tentative Agreement (TA) Summary for BU 121 has been published online here. It be mailed to all BU 121 members along with a ballot. It will also be distributed at worksites.
Question #54: Please explain what the bonus is all about and how we will receive it, also explain what level the half step raise is and what step does it start at?? Also does the differential bonus increase as well?
Answer #54: The $1,000 bonus will be paid to employees on the first payday after the agreement is ratified by SEIU 721 members and approved by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors. The half step will be the new top step of our salary schedules. Differential bonuses are specific to each unit and any changes will be in the Tentative Agreement (TA) Summary, which can be found online here.
Question #55: 10.75 percent increase would hit right away or it is going to increase within 3 years?
Answer #55: The increases are distributed over the three years. The first increase of 2% is retroactive to October 1, 2018. The bonus is paid out immediately upon ratification and approval. The schedule of future increases will be laid out in the Tentative Agreement (TA) Summaries, which can be found online here.
Question #56: What about the Blood Gas Techs and CLS?
Answer #56: L.A. County offered a 2% inequity salary increase for the CLS series but not for the Blood Gas series.
Question #57: My question is what does the health benefit guarantee mean? Are they dropping all other coverage like for life insurance?
Answer #57: No. It just means that no matter what happens to medical and dental premiums over the next three years, L.A. County will offer fully-paid medical and dental.
Question #58: A coworker just told me that the Union representative at her office told her that we have to vote on those changes. Is this a fact, if so, where do we vote to adopt these changes?
Answer #58: Yes. You will be able to vote in one of three ways: 1 – A ballot will be mailed to your home; 2 – Ballots and ballot boxes will be set up at worksites; 3 – You will be able to vote online if you choose. All this will get underway later this month, starting on October 22.
Question #59: Will everyone that works in a hazard environment get the hazard bonus? Not every employee is in title to that bonus even if we work in those conditions (Intermediate Clerk) Department of Emergency.
Answer #59: Hazard bonuses were not negotiated this year.
Question #60: I heard it’s only 10.75 if you have 13+ years of service is this true?
Answer #60: No.