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Placeholder Image photo credit: Noah Abrams/KRCB
SEIU 1021 protest in February for a new contract

Sonoma County’s labor agreement with its largest employee union SEIU Local 1021, which represents more than half of county employees, was ratified by county officials May 9th.

The new agreement goes into effect immediately, lasting until 2026, and is seen by the SEIU Local 1021 leadership as a big victory. Supervisor Lynda Hopkins shares that sentiment.

"I am so excited to have this deal and I, I really believe that it is time to invest in our human infrastructure," Hopkins said. "In Sonoma County government does not exist without the wonderful people who serve day in and day out."

The county’s interim human resources director Janelle Crane detailed key aspects of the deal, which include:

"Cost of living adjustments over a three year contract period, salary adjustments, annual increases in county contributions to healthcare benefits, as well as an increased bilingual premium for employees designated as fluent," Crane said.

Sonoma County government has seen a major influx in revenues in recent years - to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars - from things like the American Rescue Plan and settlements with PG&E.

And they’ve promised to spend those millions on vital county needs.

Supervisor James Gore said the latest labor agreement will help get that money out into the community.

"You cannot do all that work and put all that money into the community without having a robust workforce," Gore said.

Gore noted the county's need to beef up staffing in critical areas like the department of health services.

"At a certain point, you can't say do more with less," Gore said. "The only thing you can do with less is less."

The only part of the contract not immediately authorized: changes to the pension plan, which Crane said will come before supervisors at a later date.

The county has also reached tentative agreements with two more unions.

In all, county employees are represented in 21 bargaining units by 11 different labor organizations.

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