Volume 2 / Issue 3
So What’s It Going To Take?
To provide quality service to the REAP members with integrity and respect, understanding the member is the priority.
Hi. My name is John Aberle. I’m an employee with Riverside County and the Interim Parliamentarian for REAP.
Today I want to tell you about a new member association within the county called REAP. The Regional Employees Association of Professionals which was created with the members in mind…Doing the work of the members, By the members, in a professional, dignified manner that we deserve and expect.
During our last contract negotiations, we, the members, were put in a very difficult position. Our lead negotiator was inexperienced, has a poor relationship with HR, and lacked the knowledge to successfully garner a contract that was acceptable to all members in our bargaining units. With so much at stake, why didn’t SEIU hire a professional negotiator? The art of negotiation is a skill that must be learned and honed in a way that makes it beneficial for all parties involved. This didn’t happen for us.
To save face, her only options were to tell us that we were hopelessly deadlocked and that the county refused to negotiate. We voted to strike to bring HR back to the negotiating table. While we walked around the CAC building, the members of LIUNA were in talks with HR and signed a sweetheart deal which netted their members in excess of a 20% salary and step increases.
So we took what was given to us, some of us fared better than others. In June of 2013, we had just voted no to a dues increase. I think it’s probably safe to say, by then most of us were pretty much done with SEIU.
Before the 2008 recession, most private sector employees didn’t give public employee unions a second thought. We were paid less for a comparable job, we did not, and do not, receive bonus pay and we certainly don’t get to enjoy the profit sharing aspect of the private sector. However, shortly after the economic downturn, public unions became the target of the media, the general public, and the State legislature. Laws were enacted made to change the retirement system. In California, the perception of Public Unions is that the members are greedy, overpaid “do nothings” who have an exceptionally generous retirement paid by tax dollars. Public unions must make the necessary changes to reverse the mindset of the general public and show the value of the jobs we perform. REAP is dedicated to this change.
So how can we do this? REAP is an association of concerned, dedicated employees. Through no fault of our own, REAP is presently working to mend broken bridges with our employers and the public we serve. The choice to become a member of REAP should be taken seriously. Think of what SEIU has done for you and then ask yourself, are you really better off than you were 2, almost 3 years ago? Are you content with the road SEIU has taken us down?
Of all the unions and associations HR negotiates with, SEIU is the least liked and most difficult to deal with which is a result of the poor professional relationship that exists. On the other hand, there are times during disciplinary hearings when it’s necessary for SEIU and County HR to put aside their differences and work together for the good of the employee. SEIU does not have the staff assigned to the Inland Empire to meet the needs of the members. Advocates are a scarce commodity. Therefore, Reps from the greater Los Angeles, or other areas, are called in to represent our members. The problem is, they have NO IDEA what we do in Riverside County.
During contract negotiations there is normally one lead negotiator speaking on our behalf…Why not make that person a “Professional Negotiator”? Of the $1.7 million dollars collected in dues in the Inland Empire, 52% of this is sent to SEIU International in Washington DC. REAP does not envision becoming a politically motivated organization and once recognized as the exclusive labor organization, REAP will rely solely on professional negotiators.
Contrary to popular belief, WE CAN GET RID OF SEIU! We can tell you how. We will provide the expertise. We have the knowledge and we want to GIVE it to you, but you have to take those first steps…Go to our website and register. Registering doesn’t mean you are free from SEIU. Registering provides a mechanism for us to contact you when we have information to share.
Speaking of sharing…Did you know that between April 1 and April 30 of each year of our current MOU, members of the Supervisory Bargaining Unit can opt out of SEIU? Doing so does not change your bargaining unit or the agreement between SEIU and The County of Riverside. In fact, SEIU is still obligated to represent you if necessary. The question is why would you want to be represented by SEIU? With the poor representation we receive as members, it’s doubtful itwill be much better after you’ve opted out. REAP has partnered with CEA which will provide the professional representation we expect. If this interests you, there are letters on our web site you can use designed specifically for your geographical location. You can also read more about this here, on our web site.
Take that first step. Register. It’s as simple as putting your name on a piece of paper. Let us explain the process and we think you’ll agree…WE need to be in control of our own destiny!
Also…Check out the Calendar of Events. REAP will be having informational meetings at a location near you. Tentative dates and times have been posted…See you there!!
All the best,
Looking Towards the Future