County of Marin - News Releases - Employee Strike

For Immediate Release
June 26, 2018

County Prepares for Labor Strike Starting July 1

Sheriff’s Office, Fire Department and critical emergency services not affected

San Rafael, CA – The County of Marin has been informed by Marin Association of Public Employees (MAPE) that the labor bargaining unit – the County’s largest with more than 1,300 employees – intends to stage a strike from July 1 through July 3. Therefore, the County is putting plans in place to support critical services and minimize the impacts to the community.

On Monday, June 25, County and MAPE representatives planned a full day and evening of mediation, but MAPE ended the session at 1:59 p.m. when it informed a mediator that the County’s package was insufficient. At about 5:30 p.m., MAPE’s chief representative delivered a letter to the County Administrator’s Office that declared an impasse and served notice of the strike. The County has updated its labor negotiations webpage with all the new details.

“We don’t want a strike,” Assistant County Administrator Angela Nicholson said. “We have continued to make movement and we are offering a very reasonable package in line with other local agencies.”

The County’s current package is valued at more than 9 percent over the three-year term of the agreement, which includes a one-time bargaining bonus of $1,000 for employees making less than $90,000 per year and $500 for those making more than $90,000. The County-proposed wage adjustments are 2.5 percent in 2018, 3 percent in 2019, and 2 percent in 2020.

One of the biggest negotiating disputes has been about the elimination of cash back from unspent monies for health benefits. Currently, if an employee does not spend all allocated health dollars, the employee can receive up to $100 per pay period in cash back. While the County had proposed to gradually draw down the maximum allowable cash back, on Monday the County eliminated the drawdown for existing employees, instead proposing that the benefit be eliminated only for new County employees hired after July 1, 2018.

The strike will affect the County’s ability to provide services to its residents, although it will not impact the hours or services at the Marin County Fair (June 30 through July 4) at the County Fairgrounds in San Rafael. Staff from the Marin County Sheriff’s Office, the Marin County Fire Department and other key emergency personnel such as 911 dispatchers and staff from the 24-hour crisis stabilization unit will not participate in the strike. In addition, the County is prepared to address public works emergencies if they arise. More information about the impact to County services will be released on June 27.

“We respect and appreciate our employees, but we also take a threat to resident services extremely seriously,” County Administrator Matthew Hymel said. “Public safety and safety net services are our top priority as we plan to for a potential strike.”

The County is ready to return to the negotiating table, Nicholson said.

“We are committed to fair pay and compensation for our employees, and we were working toward common ground at the table,” she said. “We respect the labor negotiations process and want to do everything we can to reach agreements while watching out for our residents and balancing our budget.”

The County is negotiating with seven of its 11 labor unions, including MAPE; the Marin County Management Employees Association (MCMEA); the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE); Teamsters, Deputy District Attorneys; Teamsters, Probation Workers; and Sheriffs’ Staff Officers Association. Contracts with all those units will expire on June 30, 2018. The County recently came to agreements with the Probation Managers Association.

“The County values its employees and offers a market-competitive wage with generous retirement and health benefits,” Nicholson said. “We have just completed a round of budget cuts to put us in a position to offer cost of living adjustments to our employees. Ultimately, we seek agreements that honor the workforce while being fiscally responsible to current and future residents.”

Contact:

Mary Hao
Director
Human Resources

Marin County Civic Center
3501 Civic Center Drive
Suite 403
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-6114
Email: Mary Hao
www.marincounty.org