November 17, 2011
Members of the Stockton City Employees Association approved by a 3 to 1 margin amendments to the organization’s constitution and bylaws recommended by its Board of Directors. In a secret ballot election conducted by mail between October 26 and November 14. Ballots were counted on November 15.
118 members voted in the election. 89 voters, or 75.4%, approved of the changes. 29 voters, or 24.6%, rejected the changes. 1 ballot was not opened or counted because the address label was removed and, therefore, was not verifiably cast by a member in good standing.
The new constitution and bylaws will be effective immediately. Copies will be provided to members electroncally through the SCEA Board of Directors and posted on the SCEA website, www.stocktonemployees.org.
The newly approved bylaws include a reoargnization of the Board regions. Therefore, elections or appointments for vacant Board seats must now be conducted, whcih the SCEA Board will consider and act upon at its next meeting.
Thank you to all SCEA members who participated in the voting process.
August 3, 2011
The City of Stockton’s Civil Service Commission found City officials violated Civil Service Rules when hiring two employees into jobs for which they never tested or competed.
Earlier this year, the Administrative Services Department hired two new employees in the finance division as full-time Office Specialists. Although these employees had tested and competed for other civil service examinations, they were never on any hiring list for Office Specialist. The employees were hired from outside City employment at the same time several long-term SCEA members were actively participating in a promotional examination for Office Specialist. The appointments occurred just days before the promotional list for Office Specialist was certified by the Civil Service Commission.
Many of the long-term City employees on the promotional list have received layoff notices, but were never interviewed for the promotional opportunities in finance because those jobs were instead given to the two new employees from outside City service.
SCEA initiated the appeal to the Civil Service Commission in April 2011. A public hearing before the Civil Service Commission was held on June 1, 2011. The City was represented by Deputy City Attorney Marci Arredondo. SCEA and its aggrieved members were represented by attorney Joe Rose. On June 16, the Civil Service Commission adopted its unanimous written decision finding City staff violated the Civil Service Rules and directing the staff to comply with the Civil Service Rules.
An audio recording of the hearing is available on the City’s website, as is the written decision of the Commission.
August 3, 2011
A neutral arbitrator has found that the City of Stockton violated the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the Stockton City Employees Association (SCEA) when it laid off regular status employees while continuing to employ part-time hourly workers in the library and the fire dispatch center in June 2010.
In her 27-page decision and award, attorney and private labor arbitrator Catherine Harris granted a grievance by SCEA in its entirety and found the City should not have laid off a Fire Telecommunicator, Library Aides, and Circulation Assistants while keeping “substitute” hourly workers without benefits and retired annuitants in the same or comparable jobs. SCEA initiated the grievance on behalf of six of its members in the Community Services Department and the Fire Department immediately after they received layoff notices in June 2010. Many of those employees were offered employment in essentially their same jobs with the City, but on a part-time basis and without any medical or other benefits.
A two-day hearing was held in January 2011, at which the City was represented by Deputy City Attorney Marci Arredondo and SCEA was represented by attorneys Joe Rose and Tamiya Davis of Rose Law. After the hearing, the City and SCEA submitted legal briefs to the arbitrator. The decision in favor of SCEA and against the City was received in late July 2011.
In her award, the arbitrator orders the City to immediately offer the aggrieved employees reinstatement to their former regular status positions before the June 2010 layoff and make them whole for any loss of wages, benefits and seniority. The back wages and benefits award is significant and could amount to as much as $80,000 for just one of the several SCEA members who were laid off in June 2010
The arbitrator’s decision is final and binding on the City and SCEA. SCEA is currently working to see that the City complies with the arbitrator’s order and that its members affected are made whole. The arbitrator retains jurisdiction over the case if there are continuing disagreements over implementation of the decision.
This is a significant victory for SCEA and its members because in the future, the City will be prevented by the MOU from laying off regular status employees while continuing to employ hourly, un-benefited workers in the same or comparable jobs.
A copy of the arbitrator’s entire decision and award is available to SCEA members by email in PDF format from your SCEA Director in your region.
March 15, 2011
The City of Stockton has asked the Stockton City Employees' Association (SCEA) to reopen its labor agreement entirely and renegotiate it from scratch. In a February 16 letter to SCEA attorney Joe Rose, interim human resources director Di Smith asked SCEA to renegotiate contract provisions relating to salary and benefits. But during a March 4 meeting between SCEA and City representatives, Smith confirmed the reopener request was not limited and would apply to all provisions of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
Smith's February 16 letter proposed a timeline forcommencement of negotiations within two weeks and completion no later than the end of April. The letter cites the City's financial condition as the basis for the request to renegotiate the entire MOU.
By letter on March 11, 2011, SCEA declined the City's request.
SCEA and City officials negotiated the MOU over eight months in 2008. The MOU was ratified by SCEA members on October 12, 2008, and approved by the City Council on December 9, 2008. At the time, the City's financial challenges were known, contemplated, and openly discussed. This is why the MOU contains several significant concessions and reforms, such as:
- A two-tier system for retiree health payments, so that new employees hired on or after January 1, 2009, will make contributions to a retiree medical trust during their working years in lieu of a promise of City-paid Retirement Medical Allowance and Retirement Medical Supplement;
- Unpaid work furloughs;
- Salary adjustments based on a percentage of growth in renewable City revenues from the prior year rather than the unrelated Consumer Price Index; and
- Reopeners to discuss in year 2011 the revenue growth formula and health care.
Since entering into the MOU, SCEA members have voluntarily agreed to additional economic concessions. The total value of economic concessions made by SCEA is $5.23 million. The savings from SCEA concessions in Fiscal Year 2010-2011 alone total $2.64 million.
Copies of the City's letter requesting to reopen and reneogitate the MOU, and SCEA's response declining the request are available from members of the SCEA Board of Directors.
SCEA's MOU remains valid through June 30, 2014.
January 16, 2011
Since October 2008, SCEA members have voluntarily agreed to economic concessions amounting to $5.23 million, of which $2.89 million is savings from the general fund, through June 30, 2014. The savings from SCEA concessions in Fiscal Year 2010-2011 alone total $2.64 million, of which $1.44 million is general fund savings.
Still, the City is expected to ask SCEA members to make even more concessions during negotiations on three reopener clauses in 2011.
There is a growing sentiment among many SCEA members that they can’t concede much more and still pay for housing, buy groceries, pay their utility bills, and put gas in the tank. Although SCEA is the City’s largest labor organization, SCEA workers – on average – receive lower wages than other employees in classified service. And because 56% of employee costs for SCEA members are paid out of enterprise or other funds rather than the City’s general fund, every dollar lost out of a SCEA represented employee’s pay saves the general fund only 44 cents. The majority of SCEA workers are paid from the funds and fees generated from their work in public service.
Excerpted below are portions of the SCEA Memorandum of Understanding containing the actual text of the agreed-upon reopeners for 2011, and provisions relating to those reopeners. Each reopener clause provides that if SCEA and the City cannot reach an agreement then there will be no change to the labor contract.
As always, SCEA representatives will work with the City in good faith to reach agreement during the meeting and conferring process on these reopeners. Ultimately, any tentative agreement reached at the bargaining table must be ratified by SCEA members during a secret ballot vote.
Salary adjustments for SCEA employees are tied to the City’s year-to-year growth in revenue from property taxes, sales and use taxes, utility user taxes, and business license fees.
Text of 2011 Reopener Provisions in SCEA MOU
15.1 Retirement Contribution Supplement
(h) The City and the Association agree to reopen Article 15.1 in year 2011 to discuss providing an enhanced miscellaneous retirement formula to bargaining unit employees (e.g. CalPERS 2.7% at 55, 3% at 60, etc.). If the parties fail to reach agreement the existing provisions of Article 15.1 shall remain unchanged.
16.1 Health, Dental, Vision, and Prescription Benefits
(d) The City and the Association shall meet and confer in calendar year 2011 to discuss Health, Dental, Vision and Prescription Benefits provided under this Article 16.1. If the parties fail to reach agreement, the existing provisions of Article 16.1 shall remain unchanged.
17.1 Salary Adjustments
(d) The City and the Association agree to reopen this Article 17.1 to discuss the revenue growth formula used to determined across-the-board salary increases. If the parties fail to reach an agreement on any changes that may be proposed by either party, the existing provisions of Article 17.1 shall remain unchanged.
17.12 Salary Survey Implementation
(c) The City shall conduct a classification and compensation study based on July 1, 2011, classification and compensation data. The City shall have no obligation to implement the survey data findings. The data gathered shall be used for information and discussion purposes between the City and the Association during year 2011 reopeners concerning retirement, health care, and Revenue Growth Formula calculations.
In addition, as explained in Section 16.1(e) below, SCEA has agreed to work with the City, unrepresented employees, and other safety and non-safety bargaining units in the joint labor-management Health Advisory Committee to develop strategies to reduce the City’s healthcare costs while maintaining access to quality healthcare. SCEA’s participation in the health advisory committee is not collective bargaining and the SCEA representative on the committee has no authority to bind SCEA to an agreement with the City for any healthcare changes.
16.1 Health, Dental, Vision, and Prescription Benefits
January 4, 2011
(e) Beginning January 1, 2009, SCEA agrees to participate in a joint labor-management committee to develop strategies to reduce the City’s healthcare costs while maintaining access to quality healthcare.
The secret ballot election for the Board of Directors of the Stockton City Employees Association (SCEA) closed on December 31. 162 ballots containing 328 votes were cast for 14 candidates in four contested regions. 6 regions were not contested.
Ballots were publicly counted last night beginning at 7:00 p.m. at the Chase Building. Ballot counting ended at about 9:30 p.m. As a result of the election, 8 SCEA Board members will return to serve another term and 4 new members will be seated for a first term. The election results for the contested regions are as follows:
Region 3 (Fire Department) – 1 position
- Terry Albee – 5 votes (63%)
- Robert Kubena – 3 votes (38%)
Region 4 (Community Services Department, Library Division) – 2 positions
- Tara Gallegos – 33 votes (43%)
- Gerald Henderson – 23 votes (30%)
- Andrea Spurlin – 20 votes (26%)
Region 6 (Police Department) – 3 positions
- Kimberley Ridenour – 45 votes (21%)
- Veronica Segura – 40 votes (19%)
- Pauline Keener – 35 votes (16%)
- Matt Davis – 31 votes (14%)
- Anthony Cooper – 27 votes (13%)
- Katie Sikich – 21 votes (10%)
- Rosaelia Pierce – 15 (7%)
Region 8 (Public Works and Municipal Utilities District) – 1 position
- Rhonda Lobosco – 20 votes (67%)
- Maricela Calvo – 10 votes (33%)
6 regions were uncontested. The sole nominees for these uncontested regions will serve on the SCEA Board and are:
Region 1 (Community Development)
Region 2 (Administrative Services)
Region 5 (Economic Development)
Region 7 (Community Services Department, Recreation Division)
Region 9 (Information Technology)
Region 10 (Police Department, Neighborhood Services)
Of the 162 ballots cast, only two were not counted because the address label on the outer envelope was obliterated or removed and, therefore, could not be confirmed as belonging to any SCEA member in good standing.
Congratulations to new and returning Board members. A sincere thank you to those Board members who are departing the Board for your dedicated and sometimes thankless volunteer service to your labor organization.
New and returning Board members will be installed at the first SCEA Board meeting of this new year, which will occur at 12 noon on Friday, January 7, 2011, at Valley Brew off of the Miracle Mile (157 W. Adams, Stockton).
Initial labor law and relations training for new Board members and refresher training for returning Board members will be provided by Rose Law and scheduled in the coming weeks.
December 12, 2010
Alva "Wally" Storm (b. 1949 – d. 2010)
Alva "Wally" Storm, founding president of the Stockton City Employees Association (SCEA), passed away unexpectedly on Saturday, November 20, at St. Joseph's Hospital in Stockton. Wally was first hired by the City of Stockton as a police dispatcher in 1986. She became active in the labor movement by joining the Board of Directors for the San Joaquin Public Employees Association (SJPEA), the predecessor labor organization to SCEA, in the 1990s, serving as president of its City of Stockton chapter.
In 1998, Wally foresaw the financial collapse of SJPEA and preemptively lead more than 475 City workers to seek recognition by the City of Stockton for their own independent labor organization, SCEA, as the exclusive representative. During a representation election, 95% of City workers voted for SCEA as their union.
At the time, Wally was publicly reviled by SJPEA business agents – almost comically – as a "false prophet," and a "power broker" with a "personal agenda" who was "in bed with the City." In truth, Wally had initial support of 78% of City employees, which grew to 95% by the time of the election, and conclusively proved to be a strong and tireless advocate for employee rights for more than two decades, as well as a dedicated and conscientious public servant.
Wally was SCEA's first president and served continuously for 7 years. In 2000, she helped bargain SCEA's first labor contract – an 8-year agreement with guaranteed raises in every year, fully paid retirement medical premiums after 15 years of City service, and numerous other advantageous provisions for SCEA members. Wally retired from the City in 2004, but remained active in SCEA as one of its labor negotiators while working for SCEA's law firm.
In 2008, she was again instrumental in negotiating SCEA's labor contract. This time, even as California's economy began to crumble, she helped bargain a 5-year agreement with protections of health benefits, wage increases, and avoidance of permanent wage reductions through temporary work furloughs.
Throughout her career, Wally has helped countless employees in times of need.
Wally's husband Ron predeceased her. She is survived by her sons Ed and Mick, grandson Logan, and sister Barbara. When she wasn't working as an advocate for City employees or loyally serving the citizens of Stockton, Wally loved to quilt, travel, dine out, and spend time with her family.
Wally was a loving grandmother, mother, and wife, a great friend, a wise colleague, and a strong advocate for City employees. She will be missed by many.
October 30, 2010
In response to a petition by 211 members of SCEA and threatened layoffs, the Association's leadership called for a referendum to reconsider health plan changes proposed by the Health Advisory Committee but narrowly rejected by SCEA members in July.
289 members (72% of eligible voters) cast secret ballots in this election, as compared to 51 percent of eligible voters who voted in the July 2010 election. 167 members (59%) voted in favor of the proposed changes, and 118 (41%) members voted against. Four ballots were not counted because the address label on the outer envelope was removed.
Due to the election results, SCEA leadership will enter into a letter of agreement with the City accepting the health plan changes proposed by the Health Advisory Committee. Most importantly, the jobs of at least six SCEA members who were to be laid off tomorrow, October 31, have been saved.
Roughly ten percent of SCEA's membership has been reduced through attrition over the last two years. Additionally, SCEA has been threatened with layoffs of 55 more members since June. However, as yet, SCEA has actually lost only two of its members due to layoff, one of whom was offered employment in another City department but declined. The layoffs have been averted primarily by voluntary concessions made by SCEA members in the form of forefeiture of a 2.5% wage increase on July 1, three continuous years of unpaid work furloughs and, most recently, these health plan changes.
SCEA's voluntary wage and benefit concessions since July 1, 2010, now total approximately $5.5 million over the term of SCEA's current labor agreement with the City.
October 18, 2010
Late last week, 211 members of the Stockton City Employees Association petitioned the SCEA Board of Directors for a vote to try to spare the jobs of six of their coworkers within SCEA.
In September, the Human Resources Department informed SCEA’s leadership the City Manager was considering “program reductions” that could include layoffs of 5 to 7 SCEA-represented employees due to SCEA’s rejection of proposed health plan design changes.
Shortly thereafter, SCEA representatives met with the Human Resources Department and were informed that the original savings estimated from the proposed health plan design changes attributable (based on number of plan participants) to SCEA is approximately $360,000. To achieve these savings City officials stated they were considering several staffing scenarios that included layoffs of 5 to 7, or more, SCEA-represented employees.
Recently, the City Manager, in consultation with his executive team, authorized elimination of eight (8) SCEA-represented positions and issuance of layoff notices to the following six (6) SCEA members:
- Charlene Beard, Junior Engineer, MUD
- Raymond Leung, GIS Specialist I, MUD
- Paul Sevilla, Librarian I, Community Services
- Madonna O’Neel, Recreation Assistant II, Community Services
- Colin Scott, Recreation Assistant II, Community Services
- Joshua Drake, Community Service Officer I, Police Department
These employees will be laid off effective October 31, 2010, to realize the expected savings from changes rebuffed in SCEA members in July of this year.
SCEA is the only labor organization in the City of Stockton who is not yet covered by the changes, which include a fifty dollar ($50) increase in the annual deductible, a one-half million dollar ($500,000) increase in the lifetime maximum benefit, and increases to prescription drug copayments for non-generic drugs but with added incentives for purchases of those drugs through Medco by mail order.
The proposed changes are a product of a “joint labor-management committee,” known as the Health Advisory Committee, comprised of all labor groups in the CIty that met “to develop strategies to reduce the City’s healthcare costs while maintaining access to quality healthcare.” SCEA committed to participate in the Health Advisory Committee under MOU Article 16, Section 16.1(e).
Today, the SCEA Board met to review the petition and consider the request to vote again in view of the change in circumstances since the July election because of issuance of six layoff notices. More than half of the entire SCEA membership signed the petition. The signatures were verified by SCEA leadership to be those of SCEA members in good standing. Any signatures not verifiable were not counted. Also considered by the SCEA Board was the exceptionally low voter turnout in the July election (212 members) as compared to the number of signtories to the petition requesting another election (211 members), the close election results in July (51% to 49%), and anectodal evidence that election participation was hindered in July by issuance by the City in the midst of the election of a notice announcing the health plan changes would be implemented. Although the notice from the City expressly excepted SCEA-represented employees because of the pending election, several SCEA members reported they did not read the City’s notice carefully and believed their vote made no difference because of the City’s notice.
The City has agreed to rescind the layoff notices of these six SCEA members if SCEA approves the plan changes before the layoffs become effective on October 31.
The current labor contract between SCEA and the City provides for continuation of the existing Modified Employee Medical Plan through June 30, 2014. However, SCEA has agreed in its labor contract to meet with the City again in 2011 to discuss the various health plans. The language of the labor contract is:
“The City and the Association shall meet and confer in calendar year 2011 to discuss Health, Dental, Vision and Prescription Benefits provided under this Article 16.1. If the parties fail to reach agreement, the existing provisions of Article 16.1 shall remain unchanged.” (SCEA MOU Art. 16, Sec. 16.1(d), p. 49, emphasis added.)
As can be seen in the text of the SCEA MOU above, if SCEA negotiators and the City’s negotiators fail to reach agreement during healthcare discussions in 2011, the existing medical plan remains unchanged. However, the City could then implement other cost saving measures, like employee layoffs. Consequently, it is likely SCEA will be facing the threat of additional layoffs if agreement is not reached during healthcare discussions next year.
The SCEA Board encourages each and every SCEA member to cast his or her vote in this and every election.
October 18, 2010
NOTICE OF A SECRET BALLOT ELECTION BY MAIL
PURPOSE OF ELECTION
A secret ballot election by mail will be conducted by the Stockton City Employees’ Association (SCEA) among its members to determine whether or not SCEA should execute a Letter of Agreement (LOA) with the City of Stockton that will implement immediately certain cost saving changes in the City’s Modified Employee Medical Plan recommended by the City-wide Health Advisory Committee, which are summarized as follows: (1) increase co-payments for non-generic prescription drugs from $8 to $25; (2) reduce prescription supply from 60 days to 30 days unless purchases are made through specified vendors who will provide up to a 90 day supply; (3) increase by fifty dollars ($50) the annual deductible making the annual deductible $200 for individuals and $500 for families; and (4) increase by $500,000 the lifetime maximum benefit from $2.0MM to $2.5MM. There will be only one question on the ballot requiring either a YES or NO answer to whether SCEA should agree to the LOA.
All SCEA members in good standing are eligible to cast ballots in this election. This election will be conducted by a secret ballot. Each SCEA member may cast only one vote. Ballots must be returned using the postage-paid, preaddressed return envelope provided either to the official ballot box or to the address designated on the envelope. The anonymity of the ballots will be maintained by an inner secrecy envelope provided with the balloting materials.
On or before Tuesday, October 19, 2010, SCEA will mail via First Class Mail to each eligible voter a ballot kit including: (1) instructions for voting; (2) a ballot; (3) a secrecy envelope; (4) a postage-paid, preaddressed return envelope; and (5) a proposed Letter of Agreement.
Ballots must be received either in the official ballot box or via First Class Mail at the designated address not later than Saturday, October 30, 2010, or they will not be counted. Postmarks will not be considered. Only official ballots will be counted. Blank ballots will not be counted. Ballots with both answer choices marked will not be counted. Any written remarks, comments, or markings other than the required marks within the answer choice boxes will be ignored. Ballots contained within outer envelopes lacking the information identifying the voter as a member of SCEA will not be counted. Anonymity of ballots is maintained by the inner secrecy envelope.
Ballots will be publicly counted on Saturday, October 30, 2010, at 5:30 p.m. in the Chase Building, 400 East Main, Stockton, California.
REQUESTING A REPLACEMENT BALLOT KIT
Any eligible voter who fails to receive his or her ballot kit after Saturday, October 23, 2010, may request a duplicate ballot kit be mailed by calling the Rose Law Firm, P.C. at (916) 983-7840. If an eligible voter inadvertently defaces, destroys, or loses his or her ballot or return envelope, he or she may request a duplicate ballot kit by using the same call-in procedure.
If you have any questions regarding this election please contact Rose Law Firm, P.C. by telephone at (916) 983-7840.