Following a successful effort to split a "Skilled Trades Unit" from an existing unit of Butte County employees, and after a protracted impasse fight including the "first ever" strike by Butte County employees, UPEC members of the STU ratified a new short term (one year) labor contract that provides improvements in wages and health care contributions but more importantly sets the tone for future negotiations.
Terms of the one year deal include an $81 per month increase in the County's insurance contribution, a 2% wage increase, a $250 signing bonus, a $600 stipend for employees opting out of County insurance, "transition language" to protect the County insurance contribution for active and retired employees in the event a change in medical insurance is approved by members for 2017 and a 5% increase in pay for the class of Senior Mechanic.
Lead negotiator for the Skilled Trades bargaining team, Steve Allen, commented, "Negotiations success is measured by what is accomplished and also in following direction and developing member cohesiveness during the frustrating bargaining process. I am extremely proud of our STU members for standing up to be counted by conducting a strike in the face of concerns that there would be retailation for a first-ever Butte County job action. We proved that Butte County employees can engage in strikes without fear of retaliation and now that tool has been added to our negotiations tool box".
"Members directed UPEC staff to engage the County in an aggressive negotiation approach including a strike. UPEC delivered and we will continue this momentum into next year's negotiations."
Allern referred to the STU members as the "point of the spear" for all Butte County employees for demonstrating aggressive bargaining tactics that all County bargaining units need to be able to consider in the event Fall elections do not result in a more reasonable and cooperative Board of Supervisor majority.