County Labor Relations Bargaining Update - September 2022
Author: Human Resources
9/2/2022 1:51:42 PM
Announcing a new Tentative Agreement has been reached with SLOCEA for July 2022-July 2025 + DSA Negotiations Update
Since our last bargaining update in July, the County has continued to bargain with the San Luis Obispo County Employees’ Association (SLOCEA) and the Deputy Sheriffs’ Association (DSA). SLOCEA’s Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) expired on June 30, 2022 and DSA’s MOU will expire on December 31, 2022.
We are excited to announce that the County and SLOCEA have reached tentative agreements for new MOUs for fiscal years 2022/23 through 2024/25.
Tentative Agreement is Step 6 in the Life Cycle of the Bargaining Process. SLOCEA is currently in the process of having the new TAs ratified by their membership. If the ratification is successful, the agreements will then be sent to the Board of Supervisors for approval in open session. The first compensation increases will then take effect the start of the pay period after the Board of Supervisors approves the agreements.
If you have specific questions about the ratification process. or would like further details about the tentative agreements, please contact a SLOCEA representative. The contact information can be found on SLOCEA’s website.
SLOCEA Tentative Agreement Summary
The County and SLOCEA agreed to a three-year term, commencing on July 1, 2022 and expiring on June 30, 2025. The main features of the tentative agreement are summarized below.
Key Economic Agreements
- Across-the-Board Wage Increases: The County and SLOCEA agreed upon across-the-board increases for all SLOCEA represented employees of 3% retroactive to the pay period including July 1, 2022, 3% effective the pay period including July 1, 2023, and 2.5% effective the pay period including July 1, 2024.
- Equity Adjustments: In addition to the across the board increases listed above, the County and SLOCEA agreed to equity increases totaling about 2.7% of payroll to increase the pay of classifications that are more than 5.65% below “market” (comparable agencies identified by the County) or with significant recruitment and retention issues. About 1050 employees will receive these additional equity increases ranging from 0.5% to 11%.
- New Step 6: A new 6th step was added to the salary range for all SLOCEA-represented job classifications, effective the pay period after Board of Supervisors adoption of the MOU. The additional step will give employees who are “topped out” at Step 5 the opportunity for an additional, five percent step increase, impacting about 40 percent of SLOCEA-represented employees that are currently at Step 5. Employees who have been at step 5 for a year or more as of the pay period following Board of Supervisors adoption of the MOUs and have a current satisfactory or higher performance evaluation will be moved to the new Step 6. All other employees will move to step 6 based on the normal step progression.
- Pension Holidays and Cap - To mitigate the impact of rising pension costs on employees, the County and SLOCEA agreed to a pension holiday (i.e. no pension increases) during the first two fiscal years of the MOU term. For the third year of the MOU term, employees pension rate increases will not exceed 1%.
- Important Note: Employee paychecks were reduced in July due to a 1.08 percent increase in their pension payment. Upon ratification by SLOCEA membership and Board adoption of the overall agreement, the County will absorb this increase so that this deduction will be removed going forward, and employees will be reimbursed for the 1.08% deductions that commenced in July.
- Cafeteria Contributions to Employee Health Premiums - To address rising health care costs, the County and SLOCEA agreed to increase the monthly cafeteria contribution amounts as follows:
The following items were also agreed upon by SLOCEA and the County for the term of this agreement:
- Standby Pay – Increased to $5.00 per hour
- Bilingual Pay - Increased differential to $125 per month for part-time use, and $200 per month for intensive use that is required for successful job performance.
- Commercial Driver’s License – The County will bear the cost of any required commercial driver’s licenses for SLOCEA represented employees and will allow the employee to attend training during work hours.
- Uniforms/Working Clothes- Updated uniform allowance provisions and eligible classifications.
- Differential for employees temporarily assigned to the Jail, Juvenile Hall, and Psychiatric Health Facility (PHF) – Added a new differential of $2.00 per hour for employees who are in classifications that are not exclusively assigned to the Jail, Juvenile Hall, or Psychiatric Health Facility for all hours worked in those facilities.
- Summer Childcare Reimbursement Program - Increased fund by $32,500 thousand dollars and expanded eligibility to more employees and their dependents.
- Leave Adjustment for Lateral Transfers and Step Placement - New employees with prior similar experience will be eligible to receive a sick leave advance and accelerated vacation accrual. Current employees will also be eligible for adjustment to their vacation accrual rates to account for their prior similar experience. Also, Department Heads will have the ability to hire new staff up to top step in the salary range.
- Reclassifications – HR will issue a determination within 120 days of receipt of an employee initiated position study request, and the County and SLOCEA clarified the step placement process for reclassified employees.
- Meal Periods and Rest Breaks – Specified meal period and rest breaks requirements, including clarification of compensated time.
- Joint Labor Management Committee - The County and SLOCEA will form a Joint Labor Management Committee (JLMC) to address operational workplace issues.
- Work Location- Increased the notification time requirement for work location changes.
- Investigative Interviews – Outlined a process for investigative interviews.
- Release Time for Bargaining Team Members – Increased the paid release time available for the SLOCEA bargaining team to prepare for negotiations.
- Orientation – Outlined a process for SLOCEA to meet with newly hired employees in SLOCEA-represented bargaining units during orientation and for providing SLOCEA employee contact information.
- Sick Leave Accrual Cap for Trades (BU 02) – Increased the cap for sick leave accrual from 180 working days to 260 working days.
- Housing Agreement - Updated the rental rates that are adjusted at the beginning of each fiscal year.
Final Observation on the SLOCEA Bargaining Process
Both SLOCEA and County labor teams worked devotedly to bargain in good faith and reach an agreement that would make a meaningful impact on SLOCEA members’ compensation and work experience here at the County. We look forward to progressing into the next phases of the bargaining process and to implementation of the new MOU.
The Deputy Sheriff’s Association (DSA) and the County commenced negotiations August 1st. The DSA represents employees in the following classifications: Sheriff’s Correctional Deputy, Sheriff’s Senior Correctional Deputy, Sheriff’s Cadet, Sheriff’s Property Officer, Crime Prevention Specialist, Sheriff’s Forensic Specialist, Sheriff’s Forensic Laboratory Specialist, and Sheriff’s Dispatcher I/II/III. Their MOUs are set to expire on December 31, 2022.
The County and DSA teams have met three times in total and are still early on in the negotiations process. These initial sessions have been productive, with two tentative agreements reached on vacation leave and bilingual differential so far. We will continue to provide updates as these negotiations progress. If you have questions about the proposals either party has made, please contact your DSA bargaining representative.
We hope this article provides helpful insight into the status of negotiations within the County.