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County of Sonoma, California

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Labor Relations

Labor Negotiations Updates

labor negotiations collage

The County of Sonoma is committed to providing accurate and timely information to Labor in negotiations, and to the public regarding negotiations within the allowable legal framework in a way that does not jeopardize the Labor-Management relationship.

During the 2015 – 2016 negotiations with all the bargaining units, the County’s objectives are to balance the need to be a well-managed, fiscally prudent organization that appropriately meets the service needs of the community with the need to be an employer of choice that retains an engaged workforce and attracts well qualified talent.

What’s New

Posted September 3, 2015

The County and SEIU have met six times in bargaining for a successor (new) MOU, and continue to exchange information and initial proposals.

The current MOU between the County and SEIU included a 3% reduction in salary and benefit costs. This was necessary due to reduced revenues from the recession and to meet long-term fiscal stability goals by reducing base compensation on an ongoing basis. To achieve this reduction, the parties agreed to the following changes:

  • Elimination of Hazard Pay by the end of the MOU;
  • Elimination of Supervisory Leave;
  • Increased employee pension contributions, elimination of employer paid member contributions (EPMC) and lower benefit tiers in accordance with the Public Employee Pension Reform Act (PEPRA);
  • Elimination of County contributions to the Deferred Compensation Program;
  • Payment of hourly premium pay only for hours worked as opposed to all time in paid status (including paid leave)
  • Consolidation of standby and premium rates, and elimination of certain premium pays; and
  • Elimination of pensionable compensation for holiday time, vacation and sick leave cash out.

Even with the 2013 reductions, SEIU-represented employees are well-situated in the labor market. On average, SEIU-represented benchmark classifications are above the average total compensation when compared against employees of comparable agencies, which include City of Santa Rosa, and counties of Marin, Mendocino, Napa, Contra Costa, Solano, Alameda, Sacramento, San Mateo, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, and Santa Cruz. The County has proposed a package with an overall increase to compensation.

The County continues to respond to numerous information requests and provide data relevant to proposals in an effort to reach an agreement in advance of the contract expiration.

The County will continue to provide updates as bargaining continues.

Posted August 20, 2015

The County commenced bargaining for a successor Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1021. The current MOU expires October 31, 2015. The County and SEIU have met four times, and have exchanged initial proposals.

The County proposed a package with an overall increase to compensation. The Public Employee Pension Reform Act (PEPRA) provides a standard that all employees (including legacy employees who became members of the retirement system before January 1, 2013) pay 50% of the normal cost of pension. Consistent with County’s pension reform goals, one of the County’s key negotiation interests is that legacy employees increase employee contributions toward pension over a three year period to meet this standard. Currently, General (non-safety) employees pay an average of 8.93% of salary toward pension, which is 1.71% less than 50% of the normal cost. This does not include the previously negotiated employee contributions toward unfunded liability, which expire in 2024, for retroactivity of enhanced pension benefits.

The County has responded numerous information requests from SEIU in an effort to reach a successor agreement in advance of the contract expiration.

The County will continue to provide updates as bargaining continues.