The County of San Mateo is preparing for a labor strike on Tuesday, March 5 and Wednesday, March 6, 2019 by employees in the Human Services Unit represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 829.

During the strike, the County intends to maintain essential services but will implement contingency plans to minimize service disruptions. Such contingency plans may involve the centralization of certain services on March 5 and 6 with some locations being closed.  The County asks for the public’s understanding and patience during this time, while remaining hopeful an agreement can still be reached. At this time, the County does not know definitively how many employees will in fact strike or how many facilities may be impacted. However, information and updates regarding service and facility impacts will be posted at news.smcgov.org.

AFSCME represents 11 units of County employees. Previously, the County and AFSCME representatives reached a tentative agreement on a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).  However, only 10 of the 11 AFSCME representation units ratified the new MOU. AFSCME has since notified the County that the remaining unit, the Human Services Unit, will be going on strike for two days next week.  

The Human Services Unit represents 915 employees in departments including the Human Services Agency, Health, the Sheriff’s Office and District Attorney’s Office. The current contract expired Oct. 6, 2018; the County and AFSCME have held more than 27 negotiations meeting since July 2018.

On Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019, the Board of Supervisors approved a new three-year agreement with the remaining 10 representation units composed of approximately 800 employees in varied classifications across departments.  Significant changes for employees in the representation units that ratified the agreement include:

·     Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA): 4 percent effective Feb. 24, 2019, 2 percent effective Oct. 6, 2019 and 3 percent effective Oct. 4, 2020.;

·     Equity increases of 1 percent effective Feb. 24, 2019 and 2 percent effective Oct. 6, 2019;

·     Longevity pay: 1 percent after the equivalent of five years of service and increased longevity pay of 1 percent at 10 and 20 years of service, and 2 percent at 25 years;

·     Specified classifications receive additional equity increase and other specialty pays based on market conditions. 

The County also agreed to assemble a County-wide labor-management committee designated to review the County’s current sick leave conversion benefit, and to recommend financially sustainable modifications to the existing retiree health benefits.

“All County employees provide invaluable service to our organization and the public which is why the County remains committed to fairly compensating them in a fiscally responsible way,” said County Manager Mike Callagy. “We believe the new contract, which provides for 12 percent across the board salary increases over the next three years, is generous and equitable.  We are happy that the new contract was accepted by employees in 10 of the 11 units represented by AFSCME and we’re excited to have a new MOU in place with those employees for the next three years. We hope those in the Human Services Unit will reconsider the offer that’s on the table.”

The County previously reached agreements with similar compensation increases with Service Employees International Union in December 2018 and the Law Enforcement Unit in January 2019.  

A list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) updates and further details are available at news.smcgov.org.