An overwhelming majority of Teamsters voted this week to ratify a new four-year contract with the County of San Bernardino in California. After nearly a year of bargaining, Local 1932 was able to secure a strong contract with significant increases in take-home pay for County workers.
The increases in take-home pay are based on fair across-the-board raises, substantial improvements to employer contributions in health insurance premiums, and merit advancement reform that will help members progress through steps in half as much time as before. The contract covers 11,000 members.
“We are finally getting the raises we deserve to feed and support families, to put gasoline in our cars, to stay committed to the jobs we love here at home,” says Yesenia Olague, a 15-year employee of the county’s Workforce Development Board.
The centerpiece of the new contract is an overhaul of the long-broken system for employer-provided health insurance managed by the county. As part of the agreement, Local 1932 will now be able to establish an independent trust fund for members that will be able to bargain with insurance carriers for quality plans and lower prices. Additionally, the trust fund will finally allow Teamsters the opportunity for pre-Medicare retiree health care coverage.
It’s been a years-long fight to upgrade member health care. During a bargaining rally updated held in June, Local 1932 Secretary-Treasurer Randy Korgan and President Kathleen Brennan outlined the Teamster solutions to the declining take-home pay caused by unaffordable health insurance offered by the County. “There won’t be a ratification meeting until there is a solution to your unaffordable health care,” Korgan said.
In the ensuing months, members participated in further actions, with lunch-time worksite-wide walkouts occurring at several county offices. Additionally, Local 1932 worked hard to connect the county to regional elected officials who were standing with us, members of the California Legislature and Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.).
These actions built momentum and resulted in success. Local 1932 and the county reached tentative agreement on Aug. 22 on an agreement that will lead to 20 percent increases in take-home pay for most members, and the contracted was ratified on Monday.
“I am very excited about this contract,” says Glin Stone, a 23-year County Sherriff’s Department employee. “This is by far the best contract I have seen in all of my years with the county.”