Happy new year! As we welcome 2022, PPOA members face many of the same challenges we have faced throughout the last two years, including the continued threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, the politically polarized process in which the County, state and federal governments are addressing the pandemic, and very strained labor relations with our County employers.
At the time of this writing, the omicron variant, while seemingly less lethal, is rampaging through our area. COVID-19 cases are skyrocketing, with increased hospitalizations, but thankfully, less deaths attributed to this variant.
The effects of COVID-19 and this variant continue to provide ammunition to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors vaccine mandate, the strictest mandate for employees in the nation. This draconian mandate, threatening suspension and termination for members not wishing to vaccinate, flies in the face of labor relations and threatens good-faith bargaining with this Board of Supervisors. PPOA continues our impasse process with our labor partners of the County Coalition of Unions, fighting to come to reasonable resolutions to attain the goal presented while not harming the union members of the County workforce.
Sheriff, your actions with the Board of Supervisors cause enough collateral damage with our members. How about not piling on?
Speaking of labor relations, what is going on with Sheriff Villanueva? Just last month, the Sheriff’s Department began issuing performance log entries, threatening “formal discipline” for those who have not registered their vaccination status in Fulgent or the internal LASD database. This unilateral action, at the direction of Sheriff Villanueva, without a legally required meet-and-confer process is yet another trampling of our bargaining rights, just one of many unfair labor practices of this administration of which PPOA has had to address recently. Sheriff, your actions with the Board of Supervisors cause enough collateral damage with our members. How about not piling on?
This year will be a doozy! New challenges include contract negotiations, the effects of legislative redistricting during these tumultuous times of “law enforcement reform” and, of course, the upcoming sheriff election.
Contract negotiations for Bargaining Unit 612 (Lieutenants and Sergeants) have been initiated. The process is guaranteed to be difficult and slow going. With the Consumer Price Index significantly inflating over the last six months, PPOA negotiation teams will be strongly advocating for our members’ buying power to remain at least consistent with the economy.
Recent changes caused by the effects of redistricting will have a tremendous impact on many aspects of state and local government this year. State legislatures’ power will change, and local government elections, including the Board of Supervisors, will be impacted. Only time will tell how this plays into the “woke” politics and proposed “law enforcement reform” legislation of the future.
Additionally, Sheriff Villanueva will be facing a cavalcade of candidates vying for his office in 2022. Candidates who have announced their intentions to challenge Sheriff Villanueva include (in alphabetical order): Enrique Del Real, April Saucedo Hood, Robert Luna, Cecil Rhambo, Matt Rodriguez, Britta Steinbrenner, Eric Strong and Eli Vera. Keep an eye out in the near future for the upcoming Sheriff Candidate Forum hosted by PPOA and ALADS, scheduled for January 26, 2022. While attendance will be limited due to COVID-19 protocols, the event will be recorded and made available for all through a streaming video.
In 2022, a face from the past joins/re-joins the PPOA Board of Directors. Please welcome the newly re-elected Gerry Garcia, representing the Security Officers and Security Assistants, who recently replaced former Director Henry Jimenez. Gerry returns to the Board of Directors for a second time, bringing his previous experience back to PPOA. A special thank-you to Henry Jimenez for all of your efforts during your time as a director, advocating for the members of your classification.
This year, the goals of this organization remain the same — to represent and protect the PPOA family during these historically unprecedented and challenging times. In closing, I am going to steal a saying from the past … “See something, say something.” PPOA needs your eyes and ears to continue communicating the concerns with our County employer partners. Also, I cannot stress this enough, come participate in PPOA. Our union is only as strong as our members. Get involved, become a delegate and expand your understanding of the complexities PPOA faces every day. Until next time, happy new year!