Residents of Orange County, Calif., may notice a spring in the step of county workers since 450 have recently ratified their first Teamster contract. Since voting in representation by Local 952 in December 2015, county employees, along with staff of the local union, had been bargaining with the county administrators to win wage and benefit improvements.
“These dedicated county workers had to endure sub-par wages and lackluster representation from the prior association which represented them. But now as members of our local, we are working to improve their lives,” said Patrick D. Kelly, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 952.
Wage increases are one improvement that was the result of a wage survey, conducted by the local union, prior to the contract ratification.
The wage survey showed Orange County wages were lower for the same jobs compared to nearby areas. To compensate in the interim, wage increases were built into the contract’s three-year term. The local also won the right to have a job description evaluation for dozens of jobs.
“Orange County employs 450 people who fill a very diverse set of jobs—from custodians to airport maintenance to zoo keepers—at 40 different sites, totaling 70 job classifications. And because our members fill so many kinds of jobs, it’s a good bet that Orange County residents interact with a Teamster on a daily basis. Everyone who works for Orange County wants to perform their job at the highest level, and this new contract will help ensure that,” Kelly said.
Members Reap Immediate Rewards
An automotive mechanic with Orange County for the past 17 years, Jim McAnally praised the new contract and the local union’s positive attitude. The contract’s improvements include an 8.5-percent wage raise.
“We had gone without a raise for the past 10 years, and my job description was last updated in 1983—before cars even had computers! I’m proud of how the local union took the bull by the horns with this contract,” McAnally said.
Andrea Brone, an equipment operator for the county for the past 20 years, described the feeling of equality she had when she first came to the local union. Brone’s workday centers around driving a truck (a sweeper or water truck), but she has found time to volunteer for the union and is now acting shop steward.
Local 952 has a strong track record of representing public employees. For the past 25 years, the 850 employees of the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), which run the county’s bus transportation system, have been members.
“The great diversity of jobs in the Teamsters Union is what makes us the perfect representative for the Orange County employees’ unit,” Kelly said.