I hope this finds you and your family well and in good favor after the holiday season. Unfortunately, 2021 was a carryover from the previous year with the hovering cloud of COVID-19 and the County Board of Supervisors’ aim of implementing a vaccine mandate over its employees.
PPOA, along with the Coalition of County Unions (CCU), has been addressing the concerns of personnel since the implementation of the mandate.
In the beginning, we questioned Fulgent’s standing and relationship with the County. We asked to view the contract between Fulgent and the County, and we asked for a representative to come and address the issues posed by PPOA and the CCU. None of those questions were answered.
From the start, our focus was and continues to be on the preservation of employees’ personal information, religious and medical exemptions, and a testing component for employees — including the ability to do so on duty, as it is the County’s mandate.
We advised the Department of these concerns weeks prior to the Department’s public acknowledgment. We questioned and addressed the Department’s inconsistencies in messaging to employees. We also informed the Department that PPOA would defend its membership against any potential discipline related to the mandate.
We have consulted with multiple legal components and monitored all challenges to the mandates since their inception. Our fiduciary responsibility as a Board is to direct resources into components and efforts that we, along with our legal counsel, feel yield the best possibility of being successful.
Legal filings against the mandate have all failed. While we praise the efforts of attorneys statewide, we also need to be mindful of the work environment and the men and women whose employment, positions and interactions within the workplace are affected by varying belief systems.
City mandates have encompassed units in controversies of segregated gym use, while other units outside of the City order were closed altogether. Again, messaging to employees was lacking as units never posted or advised employees of the City order, leaving them to believe the departments and their supervisors were forcing employees into a corner. All of this led us, along with our partners in the CCU, to an impasse and mediation. The second of those meetings took place on December 10.
Although many of you remain frustrated by the overall situation, we are still dealing with the issue. As the exclusive bargaining unit, we have that right and opportunity to be at the table for any discussion, hearing and policy behind this.
There is a line in a song that says, “How can anybody tell you the truth when they’re misinformed?” I encourage you to ask questions, be informed, understand what is going on in real time and not mirror the feelings of others, but have a personal understanding of the facts.
UNIT 621 SALARY CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS
Negotiations are coming. I will be making the rounds to answer questions and hear thoughts and ideas. Yet, if I miss you or your shift, it’s not on purpose — I’m available for discussions. Some of the best conversations are the ones you don’t expect.
CONGRATULATIONS TO TWO NEW RETIREES
In closing, I’d like to acknowledge a couple of our recent Unit 621 retirees: Renee Vital and Liem Nguyen. Thank you for your service to the Department and the organization. May your days away from the job be peaceful and plentiful. Enjoy.
Take care and be safe.