United Public Employees.
> <
  • Slide 1.
  • Slide 2.
  • Slide 3.
  • Slide 4.

UPE News Item

UPE COVID-19 Update:

UPE Proposals to Sacramento County


United Public Employees and representatives from the County of Sacramento met via conference call on Friday April 3, 2020 to discuss the Union's proposals relating to the COVID-19 Outbreak.  The County requested the meeting in order to better understand our proposals. 

UPE proposed time and a half for all workers who are required to work in an office or who have to meet with the public. UPE's proposal also calls for the pay to apply retroactively. To no surprise, the County stated an unwillingness at this time to reopen our contracts to pay workers more. However, UPE countered with another proposal that would allow the County to pay our workers more money during this time without having to reopen the contract. Our Union counter proposal would pay our members a minimum 5% increase as out of class pay due to County of Sacramento designating our members as essential employees due to the emergency order the County has in place. Under State Law, Title I, Section 3100 of the California Government Code, all government employees are declared Disaster Service Workers who can be called upon in any emergency. 

Ted Somera, UPE’s Executive Director, expressed his deep concerns and frustration with the County’s response. He explained to the County representatives that the County and Board of Supervisors need to show their employees an act of appreciation and support with additional compensation. These employees are mandated to come in to work despite a greater possibility of exposing themselves and their families to the COVID-19 Virus, compared to workers teleworking or designated on administrative leave.  These employees do so in order to provide services to the residents of the County of Sacramento who are the same constituents to those Board of Supervisors! These employees, our members, are the one who are making this County function during this pandemic and are unsung heroes while those in upper management and Board of Supervisors will reap the praise!

Mr. Somera made it clear: “Our members do not need a memo from their managers and Directors thanking them for coming into work. They need to be compensated in one form or another as just as private companies and other local governments are doing to show their appreciation. A thank you note from the employer will not pay for necessary medicines if they get sick or heaven forbid a copayment if they have to visit their doctor or worse yet hospital”. 

The County was not prepared to accept this proposal either but stated that they would be having further internal discussion with the Board of Supervisors over the issue of pay and would respond back to UPE. 

UPE also proposed lifting the cap on vacation accruals so that workers would not lose accrued vacation during a time when government officials are directing people to limit travel.  The County would not commit to this proposal either.

UPE also proposed daily sanitation of all County buildings and inspection of all County buildings by County health officials on a regular basis during this emergency with the ability to make recommendations to improve worker safety.  UPE also demanded that our members have better access to cleaning supplies and protective equipment for worker and further demanded face mask for all County employees who have to come into work which would be in step with the latest recommendation from the County Public Health Officer.

The County responded that Departments are currently monitoring buildings to ensure safe practices.  However, as UPE pointed out to the County, Department managers and directors are not health experts and many workers continue to feel unsafe. The County stated they would look further into the matter and follow up with UPE.

UPE also stressed the importance of telework as a way to improve worker safety.  UPE's proposed the County develop a list of all work that cannot currently be conducted via telework as well as a plan to remove any barriers to telework.  The County stated they would need to follow up with Departments on this issue.   

UPE proposed an increase in the use of rotations to reduce the number of workers in an office.  Some workers would be allowed to be at home on paid administrative leave while others were in the office.  Then the workers would switch on a rotational basis.  This would increase the safety of all workers by allowing some to isolate at home while at the same time reducing the number of staff in offices to improve social distancing.  UPE made clear that the County must be willing to delay some services in order to support the safety of their workers.   The County agreed this was a good idea but was not able to provide answers for why some Department's have been able to institute more rotations than others.  

UPE will continue to fight for our workers during this unprecedented time.  We will continue our advocacy for our workers health and safety and to ensure that they are fairly compensated for continuing their duties to the public under extraordinary circumstances. 

Together We Are Strong!



United Public Employees
9333 Tech Center Drive, #300
Sacramento, CA  95826
Phone: 916-736-9503
Fax: 916-736-9506