County Negotiations Update: March 22, 2023
Dear OCEA member,
The OCEA negotiations team met on Wednesday, March 22. Our team completed our negotiations proposal prior to the formal commencement of negotiations on Wednesday, April 5. You can read our previous updates here!
A New Day in OC
Since 2012 (and before), OCEA members have been targeted by a sustained political attack on unions, government, and the services we provide. These political attacks reverberated nationally but had their insidious roots in Orange County. Politicians like John Moorlach sought to build their political careers on attacking unions and our rights and benefits. These attacks on Orange County workers were felt at the ballot box AND negotiations table. In 2012 anti-union politicians from Orange County placed a statewide initiative on the ballot in an attempt to take away your right to support candidates in elections. In 2012 and again in 2015 County Executives proposed chiseling away at our workplace rights and taking away longstanding benefits (including pay reductions!). For many years, previous Boards of Supervisors used negotiations with OCEA as an opportunity to promote their anti-union agendas and build their own careers on our backs.
OCEA members have weathered these attacks and remained strong. OCEA organized politically to elect pro-worker politicians. In recent election cycles OCEA members worked to elect pro-OCEA politicians to Congress, the California Assembly and Senate, water boards, city councils and the County Board of Supervisors. It is new day in OC, and this new day is a direct result of our hard work over the past several years.
OCEA Values and OCEA’s Initial Proposal
The OCEA negotiations team understands that this year presents a unique opportunity to achieve meaningful contract improvements for OCEA members. You responded to the OCEA negotiations survey in record numbers and your priorities will be reflected in our proposals. During these negotiations OCEA will address economic current realities, reinvest in public services decimated during the pandemic, confront the new realities of public-sector service, and much more.
Of course, the centerpiece of OCEA’s proposal will be enhanced wages. In preparation, OCEA has done hundreds of hours of research on the public and private sector markets, current recruitment and retention challenges, the rising cost of living for you and your family, and related data. In addition, we commissioned a forensic audit of the County’s finances which confirmed what we suspected—that the County’s financial position is strong.
You can help support what happens at the negotiations table by joining the Union Action Team. The UAT is a committee of workers who want to stay informed about ways they can take action to help secure a fair MOU. Our next UAT meeting is at noon Thursday, April 6. You can join the UAT by going to ocea.org/getinvolved.
Stay updated by going to ocea.org/countynegotiations. Here you can find the latest communications, the full negotiations team roster, and trainings related to negotiations. We’ll issue another negotiations communication following our meeting on April 5.
Publication Date: March 22, 2023