The County of Marin issued a press release this morning, indicating that they had reached a settlement with the Marin Association of Public Employees, agreeing to a pay raise of 8% over a three year period. The Board of Supervisors considers this great news, but it is a very unfortunate turn of events.
That press release reads as follows:
Labor Deal Reached, Employee Strike Averted
County and largest bargaining unit come to tentative agreement
San Rafael, CA – There will not be a strike by County of Marin employees. That means there will be no picketing today at the Marin County Fair on its opening day.
The Marin Association of Public Employees (MAPE), the County’s largest bargaining unit with more than 1,300 employees, reached a tentative three-year labor agreement with County representatives at approximately 11:20 p.m. Friday, June 29, after a full day of mediated negotiations at the Marin County Civic Center in San Rafael.
MAPE has set a ratification vote for Monday, July 9. The tentative agreement must be ratified by the Marin County Board of Supervisors, and its next meeting is Tuesday, July 10.
The terms of the agreement include 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 wage adjustments are 2.5 percent in 2018, 3 percent in 2019, and 2.5 percent in 2020. Other specific terms of agreement will be released later on Saturday, June 30, and will be available on the County’s labor negotiations webpage.
MAPE had intended to stage a strike from Sunday, July 1, through Tuesday, July 3, following a Saturday demonstration just outside the ticket booths on the first day of the Marin County Fair.
“Fortunately, there will be no strike and County business resumes as usual,” said County Administrator Matthew Hymel. “We appreciate our employees and we are glad to have reached an agreement.”
In response, I sent the following letter to the BOS along with the results of the Petition against MAPE's demands, attached.
Dear Marin Board of Supervisors:
We see from the latest press release that you have reached a settlement with MAPE. Although some of us are grateful that the 8% pay raise is more in line with your original proposal (7.8%) than the MAPE demands (11%), please be advised that a significant number of Marin residents remain outraged that public employees are paid so much more than for comparable jobs in the private sector and that their pay is not tied to their performance or merit-based.
We also remain deeply concerned about the unending rise in unfunded pension and benefits liabilities.
Attached is a copy of the names and comments of those who signed the petition against MAPE's demands. The petition received 316 legitimate signatures from Marin residents (399 total signatures) in approximately 80 hours from when it was posted on the internet.* Had there been a strike and had we not been going into a holiday week, we would anticipate it would have been considerably more.
(* totals as of 6/30 re 326 Marin residents and 476 total signers)
Did the petition and public protest matter?
The Board of Supervisors were being sent the daily tally of petition signers and their comments, during their deliberations. Considering that our call to action barely had time to be properly circulated (for example, it did not have a chance to be promoted in the Marin Post Weekly Update, coming out on Monday), the response was respectable.
It is impossible to know voicing public opinion matters to our Board of Supervisors. Customarily, they never acknowledge it unless it pertains to voices that support their actions. I doubt it will be any different this time around. Still, I think it is important that we all continue to make our opinions known as much as possible.
The salaries and benefits being dolled out by our County remain outrageously high, and the longer term unfunded pension obligations it creates, remain an troubling problem. It appears that all County employees need to say, to justify their demands for a pay raise is that "Marin is an expensive place to live" -- even though most who don't live in Marin, have no intention of living in Marin, regardless of how much money they make.
Merit or performance or how much more they are paid the those in the private sector play no role whatsoever in how public employees are paid. And, the Board of Supervisors have consistently refused to even acknowledge this.
This reminds us to remain vigilant and keep doing all we can to make our voices heard.
Thank you to all who rose the occasion and signed the petition.