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.