Happy Thanksgiving 2022!

Dear OCEA member,

As we prepare to gather with our family and friends this week to celebrate Thanksgiving, I want to take a moment to express how grateful I am for all that is OCEA—for our members and leaders, our mission, the struggles that strengthen us, and our success.

When we talk about the labor movement, we often refer to it as “working people standing together.” That statement has never rung as true as it has this year, leaving me in a state of awe and gratitude.

OCEA members and staff—together—fought hard at the bargaining table in many of our represented cities, districts, and at the Superior Court this year to secure contracts that help our members navigate these difficult economic times. I am also grateful for the opportunity to use this momentum to inform our approach to County bargaining, which is on the horizon in 2023.

At the Orange County Employees Retirement System, OCEA members secured a second term for OCERS Trustee and OCEA Secretary Adele Tagaloa. Adele’s re-election means we'll continue to have strong advocates for your security on the board that makes the decisions about one of the most important benefits you have as a public servant—your retirement.

Most importantly, I’m grateful for the work you did in helping our OCEA-endorsed candidates win many of their elections. With your precinct walking, phone banking and, ultimately, your votes, workers across Orange County helped to elect the first definitively labor-friendly majority to the O.C. Board of Supervisors since OCEA’s inception in 1937.

Outside of our work on home turf, I’m also thankful the perception of labor unions is finally changing in a major way. OCEA members have always been on the forefront of this movement in Orange County, but it’s inspiring to see workers across industries nationwide realize what we’ve known for decades.

I hope you will appreciate that we all have become leaders in this cultural shift. The responsibility is great, but I know we are up to the task.

Happy Thanksgiving.

In Solidarity,

Charles Barfield
OCEA General Manager

Publication Date: November 23, 2022