Contra Costa County Labor Negotiations: Frequently Asked Questions
Local 21's Bargaining Team has been given the authority to call for a strike of its membership, and it is possible that Local 21 will decide to actually strike or conduct some other type of work action over the next few weeks.
What exactly does the strike authorization mean?
The following provides answers to some of the frequently asked questions by county employees:
Who was eligible to vote?
- The vote gave the Local 21 Bargaining Team the authority to call for a strike of its membership without having to notify the members in advance. It does not necessarily mean a strike or other job action will actually take place.
If I didn't vote, or I voted against the authorization, am I obligated to participate in a strike?
- Only dues-paying members were able to vote. Of the roughly 824 workers represented by Local 21, approximately 514 were eligible to vote.
Can I be penalized by the union if I don't strike?
- Local 21's leadership can call for a strike even if the majority of people represented by the union do not desire to participate. The majority decision by those who voted provides that authorization. However, regardless of the Bargaining Team's future decisions regarding any job actions, you cannot be forced to participate in a strike. Under labor laws, you are free to make your own decision about crossing a picket line and continuing to work.
If I do participate in a job action, will I still get paid?
- Employees in positions represented by Local 21 should contact Local 21 for information about any applicable penalties.
If I participate in a job action, will my benefits continue to be provided?
- No; you will not be paid during the time you do not come to work.
Can I take vacation, sick leave or management leave and use my banked accruals during a strike?
- That will depend; the length of a job action and the time it takes place during a pay period determines the impact on benefits.
What if I already have time off planned during the period a strike takes place?
- No. You should no expect to use any leave time during a strike. Employees failing to report to work without prior authorization will be recorded as Absent Without Pay, and not be allowed to use accruals.
- Employees will be required to provide a doctor's verification if the Employee calls in sick during a work action/strike.
- The granting or denial of vacations is the prerogative of Department Heads. However, if it is apparent that a work action is occurring or is imminent, Department Heads will consider operational needs before authorizing time off during that period.
- Department Heads have the discretion as to whether or not to allow Employees to flex their time during the work day. However, Department Heads will consider the operational needs of the Department and may determine that Employees will not be authorized to flex their schedule for any reason during a work action/strike.
- Also, if it is expected that a strike or work action will last more than 3 days, Department Heads may temporarily suspend 9/80 and 4/10 schedules as necessary and as soon as practical to ensure as much staff support as possible during the department's regular business hours.
If I do come to work during a job action, will my salary or benefits be impacted?
- In certain situations, already granted time off may be allowed. Those exceptions will be reviewed on a case by case basis. However, no new requests should be expected to be approved.
What guidelines cover picketing during a strike?
- Your salary and benefits will remain the same; there will be timekeeping processes in place to track who continues to work during a strike.
What should I do if I am being blocked from entering my workplace during a strike, or if I am confronted by striking workers?
- Picketing is legal as long as it is peaceful, does not block entrances to public buildings, does not interfere with the normal course of business and does not prohibit non-striking employees from working. Picketing within County facilities is not permissible.
- Non-striking employees should expect their fellow workers to be respectful of their decision; you should avoid confronting striking employees, and not respond to any comments directed at you by picketers. If you believe you are being harassed or prevented from working by striking employees, please notify your supervisor. Contact law enforcement by dialing 9-1-1 if you believe that you are in danger.