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                    Merced Negotiations Update

Re: Unit 3 Negotiations

 

 On March 14, 2019, UPE and the County of Merced commenced negotiations for a successor memorandum of understanding (MOU). Our current MOU is set to expire on June 30, 2019. Our first session consisted of introductions, ground rules, a discussion around information UPE requested and future meeting dates. We agreed on meeting dates through June 2019. 

Our next session will be April 4, 2019 at the Merced County Administration Building. UPE will prepare our  proposals and assess any and all information presented by the County.  Stay tuned for more information as we move further along in the process.

 

TOGETHER WE ARE STRONG 

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005 & 008 Meet & Confer Update 

Re: Drug and Alcohol Policy

 

          UPE met with the County over a proposed County wide Alcohol and Drug Policy. The County stated that the need for a County wide policy was to ensure the health and safety of all of its employees. There is no current mechanism to test an employee under the suspicion of being on drugs and alcohol in the work place. UPE asked if there was a report and or data that would substantiate the County’s claim of such a need. The County responded that having a process in place will create a safe environment but did not reference a report or study.

          UPE was clear on our intent when reviewing the proposed policy. We would like to ensure that a policy would not infringe on any employee rights and protections. The County provided administrative guidelines that they believe would assist in determining if an alcohol or drug test is warranted. However, UPE had concerns regarding the observation criteria check list that the County provided. Some of the observation criteria are very subjective. In addition, UPE requested that the training manual/presentation for supervisors/managers be provided before implementation so that we may be able to review.   

          UPE is concerned that supervisors and managers are not equipped or trained to properly observe employees. This function is currently in line with law enforcement agencies that perform these duties on a regular basis. In addition, UPE asked some pointed questions surrounding the authorization form, HIPPA Rights, etc. We are scheduled to meet again on April 3, 2019. 

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008 Meet & Confer Update 

Re: Employment Background Checks

            UPE met with the County over a proposed revision of the current Criminal History Background Check Policy (re-titled as Employment Background Checks).

         Background: Since 2015, the County has met with the union over numerous policy proposed revisions, however, a revised policy was never formally adopted. As of today, the current Criminal History Background Check B-5 Policy (adopted in 09/1982) is currently in use until this meet and confer is concluded and a formal revised policy is adopted by the Board of Supervisors. 

        Why the change: The County pointed to an EEOC opinion that requested employers provide background checks based on actual duties performed rather than on classifications.   

        Who will it impact:  An employment check(s) is only performed after a candidate is offered the position and has accepted. This would impact new hires and existing employees who transfer, demote, or promote into a new position, whose duties or qualifications require it. Hence, a background check(s) will be triggered based on actual duties assigned and not on classifications.

            Types of employment checks: Prior Employment Verification, Education/Certification Verification, Motor Vehicle, Criminal History Check, Credit Check, Welfare Records Checks. It is important to note, all checks may not be required. The type of employment checks will have to have a nexus to the functions being performed while on the job. 

            When evaluating the criteria on the Credit Check Policy, UPE did not see a nexus to any of the functions that 008 employees perform. UPE requested the County not perform credit checks for the 008 Bargaining Unit. The County agreed and stated that if a future function is required, the County would then notice UPE to meet and confer over such impacts.

            UPE also noted concern over the following policy language surrounding welfare history checks, “Mitigating circumstances will not be considered or applied to these violations.” However, UPE believes mitigating circumstances should be considered in every circumstance. Here are two examples for the need (many more scenarios not mentioned may also apply):  

(1)    A prospective employee who was aided as a minor child on a public assistance case that had overpayments, IPVs (intentional program violations) or a fraud conviction for the adult on the case.  

      (2) A prospective employee who was aided as an adult on the CalFresh component of a public assistance case but was not the payee nor the authorized representative but only a household member, and the case had overpayments, IPVs or a fraud conviction for thepayee.

            Both UPE and the County ended the meet and confer session and will resume on 3/11/19. We will continue to keep the membership updated and ensure due process is applicable to all final candidates required to take an employment check(s). 

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              005 Meet & Confer Update 

Re: Employment Background Checks

UPE met with the County over a proposed revision of the current Criminal History Background Check Policy (re-titled as Employment Background Checks).

         Background: Since 2015, the County has met with the union over numerous policy proposed revisions, however, a revised policy was never formally adopted. As of today, the current Criminal History Background Check B-5 Policy (adopted in 09/1982) is currently in use until this meet and confer is concluded and a formal revised policy is adopted by the Board of Supervisors. 

        Why the change: The County pointed to an EEOC opinion that requested employers provide background checks based on actual duties performed rather than on classifications.   

        Who will it impact:  An employment check(s) is only performed after a candidate is offered the position and has accepted. This would impact new hires and existing employees who transfer, demote, or promote into a new position, whose duties or qualifications require it. Hence, a background check(s) will be triggered based on actual duties assigned and not on classifications.

        Types of employment checks: Prior Employment Verification, Education/Certification Verification, Motor Vehicle, Criminal History Check, Credit Check, Welfare Records Checks. It is important to note, all checks may not be required. The type of employment checks will have to have a nexus to the functions being performed while on the job. 

            When evaluating the criteria on the Credit Check Policy, UPE did not see a nexus to any of the functions that 005 employees perform. UPE requested the County not perform credit checks for the 005 Bargaining Unit. The County agreed and stated that if a future function is required, the County would then notice UPE to meet and confer over such impacts. 

            The County discussed the disqualification of a candidate for failing an employment background check. They stated that a letter would go to the recipient along with the actual employment check results/case. The employee would then have up to 10 business days to appeal.

            Both UPE and the County ended the meet and confer session and will resume on 3/18/19. We will continue to keep the membership updated and ensure due process is applicable to all final candidates required to take an employment check(s).         

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                    008 Meet & Confer Update

Re: DHA Class Study  

As you may have heard, DHA intends to bring the Class Study proposing the combining of the HSS and ES classifications before the Civil Service Commission on March 15, 2019.  UPE and DHA did not reach agreement on the class specifications during our negotiations.  As a result, UPE is going before the Civil Service Commission to voice our concerns.  To be clear, UPE does not object to the idea of promoting ES's to HSS.  However, the Department was unable to answer a number of key questions UPE posed during negotiations that we believe are important for all members in the HSS, ES, and SES classifications.  

What is UPE’s biggest objection? The Department failed to provide UPE with a clear explanation for why it wants to change classifications or how workers duties will change as a result of the classification changes.  DHA states duties will change, just not immediately.  The Department claims that they do not have a plan at this time to change duties.  UPE does not believe this for two reasons.  One, why are they changing classifications if they do not have a plan for changing duties?  What’s the point? Two, the Department has a history of dishonesty, particular when it comes to this classification study.  During recent contract negotiations, UPE repeatedly requested the study only to be told it was not ready.  Then, one week after the new contract was ratified; the Department presented the study to UPE for review.  UPE sees this as a deliberate delay on the part of the Department.         

Why is it important to understand workers duties at this time?  UPE wants to know workers’ duties before agreeing to the class specification changes in order to make sure the classifications fit the duties.  After the class specifications are put in place, it becomes much harder for UPE to protect workers should the County choose to force them to work out of class.  UPE can and will fight these battles but they take time and it just makes sense to be proactive and get these issues worked out now before anything is implemented.  Additionally, compensation is often tied to duties and it is very hard to ensure our workers are fairly compensated when we do not know what duties they will be asked to perform. 

Does UPE have any other concerns? Yes, DHA does not have a plan to train current ES in the duties required of HSS under the new class specifications.  This may leave workers in a position where they are being held accountable for work they have not been trained on.  UPE is trying to work out these questions now so we can be proactive and prevent these issues from occurring in the first place.  Also, as written, the class specifications call for probationary workers to start as HSS I.  However, the specifications condition movement from HSS I to HSS II on management discretion rather than passing probation after 12 months.  This essentially gives the Department the ability to hold workers at a lower-level of pay while still demanding the same level of work as HSS II’s

    UPE is asking the Civil Service commission to press the Department for answers to these questions before approving the classification changes.  As a reminder, after the Civil Service Commission approves the changes they go to the Board of Supervisors for approval.  Once those bodies both approve the changes, the Department and UPE will meet and confer again over salary. 

 

A full copy of UPE’s letter to the Civil Service Commission is available on our website at upe1.org.

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THIRD ANNUAL UNITED PUBLIC EMPLOYEES SCHOLARSHIP

 

The UPE Board of Directors is proud to announce the 3RD Annual United Public Employees Scholarship competition. Open to UPE members’ families, the program offers four $1500 scholarships to help with college expenses.

UPE Scholarship Logo.jpg

The scholarships are part of the Union’s endeavor to give back to our members. UPE is committed to investing in our membership whether in the form of representation, negotiations, or member appreciation programs such as these scholarships.

Applications must be postmarked by June 7, 2019. As a part of the application, those applying must complete a 500 word essay; include THREE letters of reference; and transcripts.

Winners will be announced in June 2019. 

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008 Meet and Confer Update 

Re: DHA Open Lobby Bureau Back-Up 

UPE has met on several occasions with the County over their DHA open lobby back-up plan. During the first meeting, UPE pressed the County for the real reason behind their proposal. The County attempted to avoid admitting the real reason for the need (being short staffed). Additionally, we requested the data demonstrating the need to have lobby back up coverage. After this revelation, UPE generated an information request so we can better respond to the County’s lobby back up proposal.

During our second meeting, we requested the CalWORKs open lobby average wait times. When provided by the County, UPE recognized a few case queues missing such as WTW, EBT and Resource Room. Furthermore, UPE argued that a clear queue threshold should be established that would in turn trigger lobby assistance. This would ensure that a transparent and fair system was in place and would also signal to our members that there is an actual need in the lobby rather than the supervisor making the determination through his/her own discretion. The County responded that they are interested to hear our counter proposal.

On February 26, 2019, UPE finally received the average missing queue times for WTW, EBT and Resource Room. Your UPE team has produced a counter proposal and both parties will meet for a third session on March 7, 2019. 

 

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NEWS & EVENTS

Wednesday, March 6th 2019- 005 Office Technical Board Meeting, 6:00 p.m. at UPE

Thursday, March 7th 2019- Sutter Board Meeting, 12:00 p.m. at Sutter

Tuesday, March 12th 2019- Court Professionals Unit Meeting, 12:00 p.m. at FRC

Tuesday, March 12th 2019- Merced County Board Meeting, 5:30 p.m. at 2222 M Street, Room 310

Tuesday, March 12th 2019- 008 Welfare Non-Supervisory Board Meeting, 6:00 p.m. at UPE

Thursday, March 14th 2019- Court Office Technical Board Meeting, 5:30 p.m. at UPE

Thursday, March 21st 2019- 6:00 p.m. at UPE

-Stewards Council: Refresher Advanced Grievance Presentation

-Basic Steward Training II (Session 1):

Thursday, March 26th 2019 -Board of Directors Meeting, 6:00 p.m. at UPE


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ANNOUNCEMENTS

  
STEWARDS TRAINING
 These trainings are for any member who is interested in learning more about their rights and how to make a difference in their workplace. Stewards meet the third Thursday of each month:
6:00pm
UPE Office - 9333
Tech Center Drive
Sacramento, CA 95826
Please RSVP to info@upe1.org
or call our office 916-736-9503
2019 Steward Training Schedule

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