Supervisor David Kehoe calls the meeting to order.
Supervisor Kehoe goes with the consent calendar first, because of all the speakers who are here to discuss the union matters.
Chris. D is on the podium. He is not speaking about the strike. He is concerned about the minutes from the last meeting, because he commented about marijuana at the last meeting about commercial selling of marijuana cultivation. "If we could amend the minutes..."
We are moving to the public comment time.
First speaker is Pam Morgan who is speaking as a private citizen. She is a legal process clerk. "I do not believe in striking, but I do not believe what the board of supervisors is doing is right."
Morgan's husband is Shasta County Supervisor Steve Morgan.
I am recording all the speakers at the podium, but I'm unable to stream live from the board chambers due to the poor wifi signal.
Supervisor Kehoe reminds the room to not applause after each speaker.
Next is Mr. Barkley on the podium.
He suggests we form our own state. He asks the board of supervisors vote for a separate state.
Chris D. is on the podium. Concerned about the re-introduction of grizzly bears in Northern California.
Chris Darker, UPEC business manager in Redding.
"We are your friends, we are your neighbors and of course we are your employees."
Fair treatment and safety: The administration fee is deducted from UPEC members, but not those who are paid higher up in the workforce.
Darker: Our immediate supervisors, department heads, who are paid more than other employees do not have to pay this fee. We are requesting this fee be phased out over a three year period.
Darker says the county should allow members to participate in a safety committee. That's what we're striking over.
Darker: The current process for resolving safety issues does not work for us and has failed.
Julie H. - I know you've heard all the numbers, all the negotiations - the most regrettable aspect of being a supervisor - it's easy to lose contact with the human aspect.
Sometimes it takes a reminder to see actual faces to put you back in touch with the issues you're dealing with. I know I spend every day at work ... dealing with the real people in the county.
Julie H. - The honest truth is all the numbers have been put out there... all we're asking is the same consideration that has been given to the other bargaining units.
Toby, his wife and infant child are on the podium.
Why does the board feel the lowest paid unit should pay this fee?
Please consider what your answer says to families.
Celestina(?) Traver: I'm a woman veteran. As you know I work at the veterans service office... I feel that you should be taking care of the employees as the employees take care of the people of this county.
Celestina Traver says county employees put their heart and soul into their work. There are people who are struggling - some qualify for the services that they are providing.
Celestina Traver behind the podium says being happy at work is the key to being happy in life.
Celestina Traver says the VSO works as a team. They support strengths, and they are pulling in more money into the county. Production improved.
T. Carpenter is on the podium and laying out the amount of retirement contributions. Then there is the admin fee, which is about .30 cents an hour. She says now they're making less than minimum wage.
The audience repeats, Yes.
T. Carpenter is concerned about leaving employees below minimum wage. It really does impact us.
Zach C. is a social worker: I support my friends who are trying to get rid of that. I'm here to talk about safety.
Says he is meeting with people in the community who cannot always control their emotions and safety is an issue for him in the field.
Zach C. - For this board to not accept a safety committee is unacceptable. Reminds the board that in his orientation safety was discussed a priority.
H. Mays - I am proud to say I work for Health and Human Services. I think most of us feel - we're not there for the money. This strike is not all about the money.
Social workers have to go out in the middle of the night. 2 - 3 in the morning. They have to go to an un-secure parking lot and then they have to walk into the homes that are volatile. They're risking their lives everyday.
H. Mays - How would you feel if that was your sister, mother and daughter?
H. Mays is discussing the amount paid by county employees, fees, retirement contributions and what that leaves the average employee.
Joseph Smith is on the podium. I think you have heard enough to make a decision.
He is not a county employee, but his wife is in the general unit.
The economy of an area is in your hands. You can improve the economy by doing the right thing. The county is one of the largest employers in Shasta County. It's rural - the employees who have spoken to you about their job and all their duties, they're trying to tell you something. They're trying to attempt in their worker productivity. They're trying their best. But they have a problem - they have a problem with their finances and personal safety.
Kristine(?) Haggard works for the health and human services agency. Has worked for the county for more than 20 years.
Kristine Haggard: We have great programs in the county to create equal opportunities to make this community a great place. I am proud to work for this county - we are productive and think outside of the box.
So as we do that... as we look for equality for people in the community... how do we not do it for our own employees.
I know there are hard decisions ... but we do it county wide ... we deserve a fair contract.
I ask you how can we not do that for our bargaining unit.
A senior social worker at children's services on the podium - Brings up the Grand Jury Report from 2014-2015.
It brought up safety issues.
The report spelled out high turnover puts children in the community at risk. Our caseloads are high, our stress is enormous... the report encouraged the board to increase salary for social workers.
A group of us met with Angela Davis with the county to see how they would meet the recommendations of the grand jury - the board decided it would not be raised, but they could bring it up during bargaining.
Here we are a year later... we feel we were lied to and misled.
Show us through your actions you value your employees.
Make us an offer... meet us where the factfinder said you should, in the middle.
Lynette W. has worked in the county for 15 years. Works in the children's branch.
I work in the trenches with the family. I need to let you know, I do not bring home $2,000 a month. I'm a single grandparent... and I have a tough time struggling to make ends meet. Trying to get creative... to make a life sort of okay for my grand daughter.
Lynette W. details her work.
Friday at 9 a.m. the first family is there. She goes into a visiting room to speak with a mentally ill mom. She is supervising by court order with an infant. She is trying to keep the mom calm and to keep the baby safe. That hour ends - she goes to her next visit. She has two children, who are ready to visit their parents who are drug addicts - they don't show up and after 15 minutes she cancels the meeting.
She is the one who has to assure them ... talk with the foster parents. I'm pretty mentally exhausted by now.
My next visit, the mom is late - she is mentally ill. After I cancel her visit, I am escorting her children to the parking lot and then she sees the mom gunning the car toward her. I've got 10 seconds and I'm not done...
Please consider the jobs we do.
Devin Freeman, he is a newly hired veterans rep. My heart is veteran's advocacy. I wanted to help my fellow veterans. I got this job in Dec. 27.
I want to work for this county for 20 years.
It sickens me that I have to strike here and not help my veterans.
Steve S. has worked for the county for 17 years.
You hear about the hard choices people have to make. When the state was making decisions to stop backfilling positions the county picked up the work.
They make do with less resources. I was here when the recession kicked in - they wanted 7 percent of our pay. Other decisions were made...I was here when this went down.
Well today, you don't have a hard choice. It's a simple choice... these people carry the load of all the hard choices you have had to make.
Larry Lees, County Executive Officer is addressing the room. The speakers accurately reflect what the situation is... I do believe they are heart felt... I do think it's important to clarify the full picture.
As it relates to safety, I try to go to every employee orientation.
Lees: i said safety was the biggest concern at an orientation. That is true. Safety, safety, safety is number one.
With that being said, we have a strong safety network within the network. It is twofold. Where one of them addresses things that may come and one addresses them at the moment.
Lees: When there is a threat, or a perception of a threat. within hours we get the Sheriff, law enforcement agencies, counselors, we along with county counsel and pull everyone into the room - we do this within hours and we determine the level of threat. That is ongoing. We will continue to do that. The other item - we look at those items that may be problems.
The issues that team members brought up today - the example is that sometimes we get calls at night to come out to a home that members come out to get a car in an unfenced parking lot.
Lees: There are things we are doing. Is there more we could do, of course.
Lees says there is another layer to have a safety committee.
Lees clarifies the admin fee. The people in my office who are non management pay it. The UPEC professional unit does pay it and so does the UPEC general pay it.
But the others who do not pay it have bargained for something else. They might have bargained for something different. They are a multitude of things.
Today I have heard, some believe that everyone should pay that fee. Maybe we need to look at that ...
Everyone in the room laughs.
In 2017, the cost of this unit, for the cost $3500 a year for retiree health care. We look for opportunities to help lessen that cost. There are other things that we can do, but we don't want to.
It's not just a fictional number ...
When this came up, it came before everyone here... in the late 80s.
The admin fee should be $98 per pay period. This bargaining unit came to the board before and it was rising and at that meeting they capped it. They capped it at the $26.40 that it is at today. I will say this, every dollar that is collected from that fee goes to public safety, said Lees.
People are hissing in the audience at his comment.