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    The Road to Tyranny by Don Jans

    County reaches agreement on new three-year contract with Service Employees International Union

    VENTURA, Calif. – The Ventura County Executive Office is pleased to announce a new three-year labor contract with the Service Employees International Union Local 721, which represents 4,500 of the County’s approximate 9,000 employees. SEIU Local 721 informed County management on December 16 that an overwhelming 94% of its members voted in favor of the new agreement. The Board of Supervisors approved the contract at their meeting on December 17. The new agreement will be effective from the date of the Board’s approval through December 17, 2022.

    “The County Executive Office has appreciated working productively with SEIU’s leadership and negotiating team members to arrive at the new agreement to provide SEIU-represented employees with increased wages and improved benefits that are competitive in the local area and will allow sustainability for the County’s economic future,” said Mike Powers, County Executive Officer. “Our employees are our greatest asset and the County looks forward to moving ahead following ratification and approval of the agreement, as it continues its work in service to the residents of Ventura County.”

    The new three-year agreement with the union calls for:

    • 2.5% general salary increases in 2020, 2021, and a 2% increase in 2022;
    • Targeted market-based adjustments ranging from 1% to 9%;
    • Salaries for job titles currently earning below $40,000 per year will be brought up to either $40,000 or 100% of market, whichever is less;
    • Flexible Credit Allowance, implementation of tiered rates. Biweekly rates for plan year 2020, Employee only=$447; Employee + 1=$522; Employee + family=$547;
    • Day after Thanksgiving added as a new holiday;
    • Increases to textbook and tuition reimbursement; uniform allowance; specialized certification payments; deferred compensation;
    • Agreement to limit grievance settlements/arbitration awards to 180 days back pay.

    The County utilized a rigorous data-driven approach in negotiating the contract. Detailed five-year financial projections were prepared to assess sustainability of the compensation increases. In preparation for, and during the negotiations, the County reviewed economic forecasts and indicators such as national and regional inflation and wage growth rates and conducted a total compensation market survey that included 11 comparable public employers. Affordability of healthcare coverage was a focus throughout the negotiations. The agreement’s increases and tiering of healthcare contributions will help stabilize and maintain out-of-pocket healthcare coverage costs for County employees during the term of the contract.

    The negotiations to discuss a successor agreement to the 2016-2019 memorandum of agreement between SEIU Local 721 and the County of Ventura commenced on September 16, 2019. The data-driven nature of the negotiations was a major factor in the parties reaching an agreement on Thursday, November 21, 2019, after only 12 meetings. SEIU’s membership is the largest of the 11 unions representing County employees.

     


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