Greetings, Security Officers (SSOs) and Security Assistants (SSAs). As our ever-changing world turns, much is happening within the Department at a rapid pace. Here are a few recent updates:
- The current Bargaining Unit (B/U) 621 salary contract for SSOs and SSAs expired September 30, 2021. A tentative agreement with the County has been reached to extend our 2018–2021 memorandum of understanding (MOU) until March 31, 2022. The agreement with the County maintains the “status quo” for six months, meaning no changes, additions or subtractions to what we currently have until a successor MOU is negotiated in 2022. This agreement will also continue the B/U 621 Uniform Allowance that will be paid between December 1 and December 15 by separate payroll warrant.
- At the October 19 Board of Supervisors meeting, the Board approved the tentative fringe benefits contract that was negotiated by the Coalition of County Unions (PPOA and 13 other L.A. County unions). Full-time SSOs and SSAs will be receiving a $1,000 one-time bonus for working during the pandemic. If you were employed before July 1, 2021, and were at “elevated” risk for COVID-19 exposure, you will receive an additional one-time $500 bonus (aka: “heroes pay”). We should all receive these bonuses before the end of 2021. The County is still working out the electronic attestation link for the $500 bonus as you will need to document that you were at “elevated” risk, which is defined as job duties requiring you to be within six feet or less of co-workers, patients, County clients or the general public for periods of 15 minutes or greater.
- Regarding health benefits, the County will provide a 2.5% increase in Choices to help offset health insurance premium increases or, if applicable, provide more taxable cash back from your Choices allotment amount. The 2.5% increase was not part of your allotment amount during open enrollment (October 1–31) due to the tentative agreement not being voted on until October 19, but will be applied in January 2022 when your health benefits for calendar year 2022 take effect.
- By now, you should have received the uniform color preference survey that was sent out via email in mid-October. This is the preliminary step to a long-overdue process. Please know that this process is an evolving topic, and I know I join you in expressing our gratitude to the Department and Sheriff Villanueva for considering the opportunity to change from our white shirt to a different color.
I think we can all agree that all of us have experienced unforeseen changes not only as SSOs and SSAs but also in our personal lives. All of us need to make sure we are making our physical and mental health a priority. I am a huge proponent of vacations and time off to (for a lack of better words) re-charge your batteries. Those of you who know me well know that I love to travel. I honestly take about two- to three-week-long vacations every year. The reasons I do this include:
- I have been with the County long enough to have the time to take off.
- I like to invest in myself and my mental well-being.
- I am not a positive asset to my co-workers and members of the public if I am fatigued, unfocused and overworked.
Throughout the month of October, I visited many locations where our SSOs and SSAs are stationed. The number one complaint I heard was that they were overworked. While there are several factors involved with that issue, I want to remind PPOA members that you should “work to live” instead of “live to work.” Do not get me wrong — I am not advocating for you to call in sick or be gone from work for extended periods of time. I do, however, want to make sure you detach from work every now and then and really enjoy your family and loved ones. Take time out for yourself. Get a lot of rest and relaxation time. Do not overexert yourself with excessive overtime and long hours. I get it — the needs of the Department are important, but not at the expense of your health.
Talk to you soon. Be safe.