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Human Resources Department

Sonoma County Prosecutors’ Association (SCPA)

2023 - 2026 SCPA Memorandum of Understanding: Article 5: Association Rights

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What’s on this Page:

  • 5.1 Association’s Recognized Right to Represent
  • 5.2 Association Employee Contact
  • 5.3. Association Meetings and Meeting Space
  • 5.4 Association Bulletin Boards
  • 5.5 Association Employee Lists
  • 5.6 New Employee Information
  • 5.7 Association Stewards
  • 5.8 Association Business
  • 5.9 Release Time

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5.1 Association’s Recognized Right to Represent

The Association and its authorized representatives have the recognized right to represent all members of the District Attorney & Child Support Attorney Non-Supervisory bargaining unit on all matters within the scope of representation.  An employee has the right to represent themselves in accordance with Government Code 3500 et seq.

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5.2 Association Employee Contact

Subject to approval of the designated Department representative, Association non-employee representatives and Association stewards are permitted to contact a represented employee during the employee’s work hours on matters within the scope of representation.

With the approval of the designated Department representative, investigation of grievances or pre-disciplinary investigation may be conducted on an employee’s work time.  Unless otherwise agreed to by Department, meetings with employees for purposes other than those specified shall be conducted on the employee’s own time.

The Department shall provide the Association with a written explanation if the Department denies requested Association access to employees under this Section 5.2.

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5.3 Association Meetings and Meeting Space

Upon the Association’s request, the County may provide meeting space outside working hours, provided space is available and Association complies with all departmental rules and County policies.  Request for use of facilities shall be made in advance to the Department Head, or designee, and will indicate the date, time, and general purpose of the meeting and facilities needed.

Association membership meetings shall normally be held outside normal working hours.  Advance permission from the Department Head or designee is required for Association membership meetings held during normal working hours.

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5.4 Association Bulletin Boards

If requested by the Association, the County will furnish adequate bulletin board space measuring no less than 36 x 48 inches.  Bulletin boards shall be located in mutually acceptable areas and shall, when possible, be out of plain view of the public.  The County shall install new bulletin boards where the Association and the County agree that they are required, with the Association having the option to supply the bulletin boards or to reimburse the County for the cost of the board(s).  All materials posted on the bulletin boards shall be in good taste and strictly impersonal in nature and limited to the legitimate business of the Association.  Prior to posting, any material shall be plainly and legibly initialed by an authorized representative of the Association.

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5.5 Association Employee Lists

Annually, or upon request, the County will provide the Association with a data run of bargaining unit employees showing each employee’s name, job classification, employee status, and the employee’s home address and social security number.  The Human Resources Director and the Association’s designated representative may agree to reasonable modifications to the employee information to meet, if possible, the representational needs of the Association.  The Association recognizes the legal right of each employee to the employee’s privacy and agrees not to use any information obtained pursuant to this Memorandum, or to allow others to use the information, for commercial gain, nor in a manner that would violate those rights.  With respect to this promise, the Association agrees to indemnify, defend, and hold harmless the County of Sonoma, its officers, employees, and agents, from any claim, liability, or damage arising from the Association’s breach of its duty under this Memorandum.

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5.6 New Employee Information

The County shall notify new bargaining unit employees that the Association is the recognized employee organization for the employee’s classification.  Each new employee shall receive a copy of the Association’s standard introductory packet, copies of which shall be provided to the Human Resources Department by the Association.

An Association Steward or non-employee representative shall be entitled to contact all newly-hired employees for the purpose of providing the new employee with information about the Association.  These activities shall be conducted on the Association Steward’s and the newly-hired employee’s own time.

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5.7 Association Stewards

The Association may designate Association Stewards among employees represented by the Association to represent and assist individual employees as provided for in this Memorandum.  The Association will provide the County’s Employee Relations Manager with a current and updated list of Association Stewards.

Duties required by the Association of its Stewards  excepting attendance at formal meetings with the County, meetings with supervisory personnel and aggrieved employees arising out of a pre-disciplinary (“discipline” means oral or written reprimands, suspension without pay, involuntary demotion or discharge) investigation meeting or any meeting under the grievance procedure  shall not interfere with the Association Stewards’ or other employees’ regular work assignments.  Stewards may leave duty or work for purposes of Association representation with the approval of the Steward’s supervisor or other authorized Department representative.  Department approval will not be capriciously or arbitrarily denied.  The Association’s request for release time shall not be made capriciously or arbitrarily and time demands on any one employee shall be within reasonable limits.

The Association and the County agree that employee performance evaluation meetings that do not include a discussion of discipline will not create a right for Steward representation or assistance at the meeting.

The County will not take reprisal or discriminate against any Steward for the Steward’s protected activities as provided for under this Memorandum.

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5.8 Association Business

Upon request from the Association designee, the County agrees to authorize member(s) of the Association release time to attend to Association business related to the County of Sonoma.  The Association shall normally request release time four (4) days in advance of the release date.  The Association and the County agree that issues will come up where four (4) days advance notification is not possible.  The Association will make every effort to notify the County as soon as possible and consider department operations when designating employees for release time in these situations.  The Association shall specify in the request whether the time to be used will be paid time or unpaid time.

The Association is authorized a total of 35 hours of paid release time each Fiscal Year.  Unpaid release time requested by the Association may be taken as paid time if the employee uses accrued vacation or compensatory time off.  The Association shall provide a monthly reporting to the Employee Relations Manager with the names and hours used by Association member(s) during County work hours.  In all cases release time will not unreasonably interfere with the Department’s operations and the Association member(s) shall secure permission from the employee’s supervisor before leaving a work assignment.

The Association shall defend, indemnify, hold harmless, release and save the County, its agents and employees, from and against any and all claims, demands, suits, orders, judgments, expenses or other forms of liability arising out of or in connection with this Article and/or any action taken by the County and/or the Association under this Article, including, but not limited to, Association members taking paid release time to attend to Association business.  This indemnification clause shall be in addition to any other remedy available to the County under this contract or provision of the law.

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5.9 Release Time

Association Business Time for employees shall be provided as specified in this Memorandum of Understanding and as required by law.  The table below is provided as a guide only.

Association Business Time County Release Time
Four (4) days advance notice
Completion of release time form.
Approval of Employee Relations and Department designee.
Association time bank hours charged. (see Article 5.8)
Pre-approval from Employee Relations and Department designee.
Association time bank hours not charged (see Article 5.8)
Examples of Association Business Time include:
  • Steward Training
  • Internal Association Matters
  • Association Safety Meetings
  • Civil Service Commission Meetings – general attendance
  • Meetings with business agents or Association officials.
  • Association organizing campaigns, special elections and ratifications
  • BOS Meetings

County Release Time includes:

  • Joint Labor Management Committees i.e., Joint Labor Management Benefits Committee meeting (JLMBC), Housing Assistance Committee (HAC), etc.
  • County Initiated Informational Meetings/Surveys
  • Meet and Confer under the MMBA
  • Civil Service Commission Meetings (Appellants and Appellant’s Representative)
  • Grievances (Grievant and Representative)
  • Grievances (Grievant and Representative)
    • Investigations
    • Grievance meetings
    • Arbitration
  • Notice of Intended Disciplinary action. (Skelly) Meeting

The Association’s request for release time shall not be made capriciously or arbitrarily and time demands on any one employee shall be within reasonable limits and with the approval of the designated supervisory representative.

All other release time requests not contemplated on the list above will be considered Association Business and charged to the Association time bank hours as specified in Article 5.8.

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