LA County – Together, We Will Stop the Layoffs!

Together, We Will Stop the Layoffs!

Yesterday, CEO Sachi Hamai reported that “the budget that will go before the Board of Supervisors on June 29 will include not only cuts in programs, but also potential layoffs of County staff.” 

The threat of layoffs in LA County is the result of a sharp drop in sales tax revenues that the County depends on to fund jobs and services. With the closure of businesses tax revenues have plummeted.

But, the threat of layoffs in LA County is also the result of a failure of the federal government to provide any significant fiscal relief to state and county government. They bailed out big corporations but left public workers at city and county levels empty-handed.

We are facing potential layoffs because Congress and the White House have failed to act! But that is going to change!

The House of Representatives has already passed the Heroes Act, which would provide $1 trillion of relief for state and county government. If it is enacted, the Heroes Act would resolve the County’s budget crisis. But it is stalled in the Republican-controlled Senate.

This Wednesday, SEIU members are participating in a National Call to Action, in which we will be contacting US Senators across the country with a unified message: “Don’t Bankrupt America’s Front Line! Save Jobs and Services! Fight like hell for the Heroes Act!”

You will receive an email tomorrow Wednesday June 17th with instructions on who to call. Make the call and make sure your co-workers call and if the lines are busy keep calling.

Together we can fight back.


Questions and Answers about Potential Layoffs in LA County

Q. Didn’t the Union agree to a suspension of the 457 plan matching contribution to avoid layoffs? What happened?

A. The Agreement was contingent on ALL County unions agreeing to the suspension. Your bargaining committee feels strongly that SEIU members should not sacrifice unless the sacrifice is shared by everyone. So far, the other County unions have failed to reach an agreement regarding the 457 plan match. So the CEO is moving forward with a budget that does not count on any savings from labor. 

Q. Who would be affected by potential layoffs?

A. The County budget is expected to include the elimination of close to 4,000 positions. This would result in thousands of employees being bumped out of their positions. Many would be demoted, and a projected 1300 would be laid off. There is no way of knowing how many years of service one would need to be safe from a potential layoff. It would depend on many factors, including current classification, number of prior positions held, number of vacancies countywide, etc.

Q. Why does it seem like it’s always the lower-paid employees who get laid off?

A. Layoffs are governed by Civil Service Rules, and by seniority within a classification. If a higher-level position is eliminated, the incumbent has a right to bump down into a lower-level position that he or she held in the past. So, layoffs do disproportionately impact lower level positions. 

Q. Shouldn’t we fight to cut fat out of the County budget to stop the layoffs?

A. It’s a question of timing. We cannot let the Senate off the hook! They can solve our problems with a single vote. We should not start fighting with the County over who or whereto cut, when the Senate can act to eliminate the need for any cuts at all.

But, if we fail to get the Senate to do the right thing in the next 6 weeks, we know how to fight for fairness in L.A. County: “Chop from the Top!”

Q. So, should we be worried about layoffs?

A. We should not panic! The County’s budget crisis is real, but potential layoffs would not take effect until October 1. We have plenty of time to fight to get the federal government to do the right thing. And, if cuts become necessary, we have plenty of time to make sure that it is the fat that gets cut, not SEIU 721 members. 

Categories: Covid19 | Los Angeles County
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Why not cut everyone’s pay by 10 percent or more and not have layoffs. Better to keep everybody working.

Mandy Lum

I agree with you.


I dont agree. Better to affect few then everyone. Newer staff will be let go after temporary and contract workers.


See my reply to Union Strong below.

John D.

It would be better to freeze everyone’s 457 plan match for like a year like they did during the last recession and not layoff anyone.


Any reasons why the union rejected the county proposal? No layoffs if the union agreed to Oct 1, 2020 2.5% raise gets postponed for 6 months, Jan 1, 2021 2.75% top-step increase postponed for 1 year, and suspend county matching to 457 Horizons deferred for 1 year. I don’t like the ideas of postponing any of these benefits, but if it can save people from losing jobs, I’m all for it. Why wasn’t these even considered? Why would the union believe that the Republican controlled senate would want to help working families more than wealthy corporations? I hope I’m wrong… Read more »

Concerned CHW

As someone who works under one of the lowest paid classifications, Im always worried that our item number will be the first to go. Im also extremely new (in county terms), so I worry about my senority.

Delaying the raises is not ideal by any means….However, if it means that we dont lose anyone to layoffs im all for it. Im glad we have a strong union, i just hope that they consider this as a way to ensure those 1300 projected dont lose their jobs.


This confirms the worst possible outcome that I mentioned previously: Layoffs + Demotions, and employees will be forced to pick up the slack and the work the same hours for less pay, potentially for years to come. It won’t be easy for employees affected by this to get re-hired, or get their old titles back.

Why couldn’t people agree to a one year suspension of a 4% match? That incredibly short-sighted decision just signaled the go-ahead for a much worse outcome.

Vincent kondo

They might invoke the suspension match as a first contingency IF NO version of the HEROES act is passed. Call your Congressperson and senator and tell them the County needs the HEROES act for recovery for ALL residents that depend upon us for services and benefits.

rene j

What money do we get if we’re laid off since we do not contribute to EDD. We get nothing!!


Is the paycut mention a furlough?


I agree on getting a 10% cut or furlough just to keep everyone working.

Vincent kondo

Don’t fly the white flag on this yet. That only plays into the right to work types that want us to work for scab wages.


I would much rather agree to a one year suspension of a 4% match like they did before during the last recession in 2008/9.


No panic is right. Let’s not start cutting pay posthaste. But if the heroes act does not pass in any form only then would we need a cut. In that contingency we could do a combo of pay freeze and temporary 401k pay match removal which would save the needed 5%
But we must Take our fight to the Senate first!
And remember to absolutely vote against Trump on November 3

Colonel Sanders

You guys keep voting Democrat at every level in California and this is how you get repaid. Don’t blame this on Trump. If the union would have fought from the start, we wouldn’t be in this mess.

Michael P.Rive

How bout just trimming the days of operations for a couple of months, so when the economy picks up or the Senate okays, everyone can work f/t again. Don’t take draconian measures, until the dust has settled.

Colonel Sanders

We should have started fighting with the County a long time ago. I was extremely disappointed by SEIU having that town hall with Barger and Garcetti. They don’t care about us. If the union would have acted like a union to begin with, we wouldn’t be in this mess.


What does “seniority within a classification” mean? Example: If an employee with 20 years promoted today into a position, and his fellow employee was newly hired into the same position 2 years prior, who would have seniority in terms of layoffs? 20y/rs or 2y/rs overall employment? My shop is slightly confused about “seniority within a classification”. Thanks…

Non Union Member

It means just that the seniority you hold in that classification. But if they hit that classification, then you would hold the item since you have the seniority.


So the guy with 20 years will lose his job to someone with 2 years?


Yes, because he was just promoted.


No that’s incorrect. It depends on how many years of County Service they have performed. It would be much more expensive to layoff someone with many years of county service than someone thats new. It’s in the employee handbook


I don’t know why the other County unions have failed to reach an agreement regarding the 457 plan match. We should work together to avoid layoffs and reduce the burden of social crisis. To temporary stop 457 plan match for a year, decrease salary, furlough and others any kind of plans to protect employees not to be layoffs. Hopefully, CEO will consider carefully because layoffs will create more problems.


I agree with you

Gail F.

I 100% agree with you.

Lisa Frazier

Please add me to the email distribution list. I want to make sure I can call the Senators as well.


You could also save money if the CEO would do a meaningful review of all the sheriffs department positions. I know there was a unit in star center that all they did was abandoned property from the state and federal government it was staffed with a senior deputy. Deputy and a Custody Assistant. They would go around in a tricked out semi truck to pickup anything worth using in the department log it and see that it was distributed in the department. If they had little to do which was most of the time they would go home early .… Read more »


I agree. I’ve seen the stats at Stars center. It’s sad to see how “much” work the higher ups do, compared to the people at the bottom of the totem pole. As an example, an admin assistant gets paid $165k a year to sit am office doing nothing. It’s crazy. Don’t believe me, check out the salaries in transperancy website.


Is seniority always the deciding factor or do they consult with the managers/supervisors/directors to determine the impact of laying off certain employees? Do they typically layoff at least one person from every classification?


It seems it is the only deciding factor.

Union Strong

They will try to make older staff and retire and lay off new employees. Seniority is how the county does it. Also registry temporary and contract employees will go first before permanent staff. We will get raises . Horizons 457 still up in the air.


Any idea on how they layoff non represented megaflex/exempt employees? Is it also by seniority?

Union Strong

They will not do a 10 percent pay cut . That will affect all staff as oppose to laying off new staff that will affect only some. LA county has done this throughout there history. Black lives matter.


Just because they’ve always done it that way shouldn’t matter. With the circumstances (Coronavirus) as they are the county/union shouldn’t put more families out in the streets. I’m sure they understand that it would not be very easy to find another job.


Lays off will happen if the county budget falls short. They have and will continue this. Virus or not lay off happen. I’m safe newer staff are not from lay off it is what it is


It’s hard not to stress about this. I have 5 years of county service time so I’m not sure how much weight that has. Does any one know if the County or individual departments typically look at seniority among all employees as a whole…essentially one group, or does they do it by each classification? For instance if a department determines they need to layoff 100 positions, do they just cut the last 100 employees hired, regardless of their classification? Or, do they usually have specific classifications in mind that they want to cut?

Concerned CHW

From what Ive been told by numerous people is that its by department first within that classification……. For instance, if Public Health needed to lay off nurses, they wouldnt go to DMH first……

Its stressful and a lot of conflicting information….
I hope the union looks at this as a ENTIRE workforce issue and does whats best for EVERYONE. Im not okay with anyone losing their jobs. We have a strong union……

Dave Burks

I don’t have all of the answers, but this is not a simple process of reducing staff by a certain percentage. Everything is based upon your seniority date(County hire date). Ex: If you were hired on 01/01/1978, and you are currently an ES for the past 5 years. The ES classification in your department is targeted to lose 2 items, and you have a lower hire date, so you are part of the layoff. But, you promoted from EW II or EWIII to the ES position, so you can bump back to the EW II or EW III position. This… Read more »


Please dear Union, work out something good for everyone. I think it will be beneficial for everyone to stop the 4% match for a year and have furlough days for 3 or 4 months. That will help save some thousands and everyone can keep their job. Everyone needs a check and we all should sacrifice a little during this pandemic. We are in this together.


I agree


100% percent agree with you as we are all in this together,maybe is better to stop being selfish. Most probable the ones who don’t agree with this plan are sure that they wont be laid off…..