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Human Resources Department

Service Employees’ International Union - Local 1021 (SEIU)

2023 - 2026 SEIU 1021 Memorandum of Understanding: Article 4: Union Rights

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4.1 Union's Recognized Right to Represent

The Union and its authorized representatives have the recognized right to represent all members of the bargaining units 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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4.2 Union Employee Contact

Designated union representatives are permitted to contact a represented employee. Subject to approval of the designated management representative, designated union representative shall have the right to access represented employee’s work locations during the employee’s work hours on matters within the scope of representation.

With the approval of the designated management representative, investigation of grievances or pre-disciplinary investigation may be conducted on an employee’s work time.  The County agrees to provide the Union with a list of designated management representatives and keep such list updated.

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4.3 Union Meeting Space

Upon Union’s request, the County may provide meeting space outside working hours, provided such space is available and Union 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. Rest breaks and lunch periods are not to be considered within working hours for purpose of this Section (4.3).

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4.4 Union Communications

The County’s communication infrastructure (e.g. County email, postal mail, phone, or online messaging service) may be used for communication between bargaining unit members and Union Representatives. The Union understands that the continuance or discontinuance of the communication infrastructure is a matter within the sole discretion of the County.

Union Representatives acknowledge they must adhere to all County computer use and privacy policies, including all relevant portions of the County’s Administrative Policy Manual.

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4.5 Union Bulletin Boards

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 in areas where the Union and the County agree that they are required, with the Union having the option to supply the bulletin boards or to reimburse the County for the cost of the board(s). All materials to be posted on said boards shall be in good taste and strictly impersonal in nature and limited to the legitimate business of the Union. Prior to posting, any material shall be plainly and legibly initialed by an authorized representative of the Union.

4.5.1 Union Bulletin Board - Internet Link

The County will maintain a link on the County Internet, County Intranet, Human Services Intranet, Water Agency Intranet, and the Sheriff’s Office Intranet to the Union’s website.

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4.6 Union Employee Lists

The County will provide the Union with a bi-weekly data run of all represented employees showing each employee’s name, department and section code, job classification, employee status, home address, home phone, work phone, cell phone, personal email address, hire date, pay rate, work location, and promotions and transfers into SEIU represented positions. The Human Resources Director and the Union’s Designated Manager may agree to reasonable modifications to the employee information to meet, if possible, the representational needs of the Union. The Union 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 Union 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 Union’s breach of its duty under this Memorandum.  

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4.7 New Employee Orientation

  1. The County shall notify new employees represented by SEIU that the Union is the recognized employee organization for the employee’s classification. Within 30 days of hire into an SEIU bargaining unit, the Union shall have the opportunity to make a 45-minute presentation at each new employee orientation program presented by the County Human Resources Department. The County shall make every effort to hold New Employee Orientations in-person. In addition, the Union shall have the opportunity to make a 10-minute presentation at each new employee orientation program presented by the Department of Health Services, Human Services Department, and any other formal group department orientation program (not to include payroll sign-ups). The County shall notify the Union of an employee orientation at least ten (10) calendar days in advance, except that a shorter notice may be provided in specific instance where there is an urgent need critical to the County’s operations that was not reasonably foreseeable. In addition, the County shall provide the Union an electronic list of expected participants at least 72 hours in advance of the employee orientation. Each new employee shall receive a copy of the Union’s standard introductory packet, copies of which shall be provided by the Union. 
  2. The County shall provide the Union a copy of the sign-in sheet, including the Bargaining Unit, within five (5) business days after each new employee orientation program presented by the County Human Resources Department.
  3. Within 90 days of hire into an SEIU bargaining unit, an employee who does not attend the orientation program presented by the County Human Resources Department, upon Union request shall be authorized for County release time to attend a 45-minute make-up session with the Union during regular working hours onsite. 
  4. Two Union designees shall be granted 45 minutes County release time plus reasonable release time for necessary travel to present on the Union’s behalf at the orientation program presented by the County Human Resources Department or make-up sessions. 
  5. County management / designees shall be absent from the room during any orientation program or make-up sessions conducted by the Union with employees.

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4.8 Union Stewards

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

Duties required by the Union of its Stewards ‑ excepting attendance at formal meetings with the County, 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 Union Stewards’ or other employees’ regular work assignments. 

Union Stewards shall be afforded the ability to attend a one hour monthly steward meeting.  Union release time may be used for attendance.

No Stewards may leave duty or work for purposes of union representation without the specific approval of the Stewards’ supervisor or other authorized management official.  Such release will not be capriciously or arbitrarily denied.  The Union’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 Union and the County agree that employee performance evaluation meetings which 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 against any Steward for the Steward’s protected activities as provided for under this Memorandum.  The SEIU County-Wide Joint Labor Management Committee is designated as the body which considers concerns related to Section 4.8 Union Stewards.

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4.9 Dues / COPE / Union-Sponsored Benefit Program

  1. The employer shall honor an employee’s check-off authorization for dues, COPE or other Union-sponsored program, which are certified in writing by the Union to the County.
  2. Deductions for dues, COPE or other Union-sponsored program shall start the first full pay period after the Union provides the County with written certification of the authorization. The County shall transmit such payments to the Union through electronic funds transfer no later than thirty (30) days after the deduction from the employee’s earnings occurs.
  3. Requests to authorize dues/other deduction(s), or requests to change status regarding such deductions, shall be directed to the Union rather than the employer. The County shall rely on the Union’s explanations in the certification provided by the Union, submitted by a representative of the Union who has authority to bind the Union, regarding whether an authorization/change in deduction(s) has been requested by the employee. Notice of changes to  deductions and/or the calculation formula and rate for the deductions previously certified by the Union must be received by the County from the Union at least thirty (30) calendar days prior to the change becoming effective. The change will be implemented by the County the first full pay period following the notice period.
  4. The Union shall not provide the employer a copy of the employee’s authorization unless a dispute arises about the existence or terms of the authorization.
  5. The Union shall indemnify the employer for any claims made regarding such deductions.
  6. Violations of this Section of the MOU are grievable.

4.9.1 Data Pertaining to Certified Deductions

The employer shall produce to SEIU Local 1021’s Membership Department every pay period, on a regular ongoing basis, a malleable electronic file containing the following information for each Bargaining Unit: 

  1. Full Name (first, middle, last, suffix)
  2. Employee Number
  3. Job Classification
  4. Job Type (full-time, part-time, extra help, as needed)
  5. Bargaining Unit
  6. Scale/Step
  7. Base Rate
  8. Department
  9. Division (subcode of the department) 

4.9.2 Protect Employees’ Information From Third-Parties.  

The County affirms its legal obligation to protect the privacy rights of Bargaining Unit members. No Bargaining Unit personnel information will be provided to third parties except as required by and in accordance with State law.  Upon the Union’s written request to County Counsel, the County will provide the Union with a copy of any response to a Public Records Act (“PRA”) request for Bargaining Unit personnel information along with any records provided in response to that request to the extent required by State law. 

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4.10 Union Related Payroll Deductions

The Union and County agree that all payroll deductions for employees represented by the Union shall utilize no more than ten (10) data processing codes. The Union agrees to work with the ACTTC/Payroll to establish protocols for use of these codes.

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4.11 Classification Study Requests

In response to a written request from a Department Head, the Union, or an employee for a reclassification study, the Human Resources Department shall acknowledge receipt of said request within 15 days of receipt of the request. Within 60 days of receipt of request, Human Resources will notify the requesting party if the request is accepted, rejected, or more information is needed. Human Resources will use the standards set forth in Civil Service Rule 3, Section 3.2 to make the decision to accept or reject the request. When accepted, and, if possible, Human Resources will indicate the general priority if known, when notifying the requesting party of acceptance. The Director of Human Resources or his designee will review the status of pending classification study requests with a staff member of the Union upon request, but not more frequently than every three months.

Before the Board of Supervisors establishes the salary range for any new class represented by the Union, the County shall meet and confer in good faith with the Union for up to thirty (30) days on the salary range for the new classification. However, there will be no mediation obligation.

4.11.1 Reclassification/Classification Studies

The County agrees to present a quarterly report to the SEIU Labor Management Committee on the status of reclassification / classification studies.

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4.12 Union Business

Upon request from the Union manager or designee, the County agrees to authorize member(s) of the Union release time to attend to Union business related to County of Sonoma.  The Union shall normally request release time four (4) business days in advance of the release date.  The Union and the County agree that issues will come up where four (4) business days advance notification is not possible.  The Union 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 Union shall specify in the request whether the time to be used will be paid time or unpaid time.

The Union is authorized a total of 800 hours of paid release time each Fiscal Year.  Unpaid release time requested by the Union may be taken as paid time if the employee uses accrued vacation or compensatory time off.  The Union shall provide a monthly reporting to the Employee Relations Manager with the names and hours used by Union member(s) during County work hours.  In all cases release time will not unreasonably interfere with the Department’s operations and the Union member(s) shall secure permission from the employee’s supervisor before leaving a work assignment.

Bargaining unit members may donate up to a total of three hundred (300) hours of accrued vacation and/or compensatory time off hours to the union release time bank each fiscal year.  Donations must be made in minimum one (1) hour increments, and shall be used before the County-provided Union release time. Donations shall be irrevocable.

Carryover hours at the end of the fiscal year shall be the greater of two hundred (200) hours or the amount of unused, donated hours. In the event processing of such donations becomes an administrative burden, the County and Union agree to meet and agree on a solution.

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4.13 Release Time

Union 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.

Union Business Time County Release Time
Four (4) business days advance notice Completion of release time form.

Approval of Employee Relations and Operational Department designee.

Union time bank hours charged (see Article 4.12)
Pre-approval from Employee Relations and Operational Department designee.

Union time bank hours not charged (see Article 4.12)
Union Sponsored Classes Steward Training Joint Labor Management Committees i.e., Joint Labor Management Benefits Committee meeting (JLMBC), Housing Assistance Committee (HAC), etc.
Internal Union Matters County Initiated Informational Meetings/Surveys
Union Safety Meetings Meet and Confer
Civil Service Commission Meetings – general attendance Civil Service Commission Meetings (Appellants and Appellant’s Representative)
Meetings with business agents or union officials. Grievances (Grievant and Representative)
  • Investigations
  • Grievance meetings
  • Arbitration
Union Organizing Campaigns Notice of Intended Disciplinary action. (Skelly) Meeting
Board of Supervisors Meetings Interest Based Bargaining Training
Special Elections and Ratifications  

The Union’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.

At the Union’s request to use County Release Time, other release time requests not contemplated on the list above will be submitted to the Employee Relations Manager or designee for consideration.

When requesting Union Business Release Time under Section 4.12 of the MOU, the Union shall specify the total amount of time requested, differentiating the amount of travel time and meeting time to be used.

The Union 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 Union under this Article, including, but not limited to, Union members taking paid release time to attend to Union 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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4.14 SEIU Local 1021 Paid Leave

At the request of SEIU Local 1021, the County shall grant a represented employee a leave without loss of compensation for the purpose of enabling the employee to serve as an elected chapter officer or officer of SEIU Local 1021.

4.14.1 SEIU Local 1021 Notice To County

SEIU 1021 shall provide reasonable notification to the County Employee and Labor Relations Manager requesting an Elected Officer leave without loss of compensation for a represented employee.  If the requested leave will be for a period of one year or more, SEIU 1021 shall notify the Employee and Labor Relations Manager as soon as the represented employee is elected.  If the requested leave will be for a period of at least two weeks but less than one year, SEIU 1021 shall notify the Employee and Labor Relations Manager at least one month prior to the first date for the leave.  No requested Elected Officer leave shall be granted for a period less than two weeks.

4.14.2 Compensation During Leave

During the leave, the County shall compensate the represented employee for the employee’s full salary and benefits, including mandated County retirement fund contributions. The employee shall pay member contributions as prescribed by the Sonoma County Employee Retirement Association (“SCERA”). The maximum amount of the retirement service credit earned shall not exceed twelve (12) years or the maximum period of time permitted by the County Employee Retirement Law (“CERL”).

4.14.3 SEIU Local 1021’s Reimbursement Payment To County

Quarterly, the County shall submit to SEIU Local 1021 a statement certifying the amount paid in compensation to the represented employee. Within thirty (30) calendar days after receiving the County’s statement certifying the amount paid in compensation, SEIU 1021 shall reimburse the County for the amount certified.

4.14.4 Leave Relationship To Union Business And County Release Time Leave

The SEIU Local 1021 requested leave of absence without loss of compensation provided for by this Section is in addition to the Union Business Time provided in Section 4.12 and the County Release Time provided in Section 4.13.

4.14.5 Return To Position

A represented employee returning to a full-time assignment from SEIU Local 1021 Leave of one year or more shall be returned to an assignment in the same classification as the assignment held prior to taking the Leave. A represented employee returning to a full-time assignment from SEIU Local 1021 Leave of less than one year shall be returned to the same position in the same classification.

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4.15 Release for Extra Help Employees

The parties agree to meet to discuss compensation for Extra Help employees on a person-by-person basis with the express purpose of devising a way to compensate such employees for time spent engaging in County and Union Business activities outside of their normal job duties. While not formal meet and confer sessions, these meetings will be conducted in good faith.

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