For the last 21 months, the majority of EAA’s 5000+ members have been working from home, performing all the essential duties necessary for the continuity of city service. As long as the Mayor has a state of emergency declared in the City, these employees should remain telecommuting. In the meantime, EAA is meeting with individual Departments to discuss and implement permanent telecommuting programs, post pandemic.
EAA in the Community
EAA takes pride in our Community involvement, and we’re back at it – supporting the Communities our members serve! Over the last couple of months, we’ve contributed and/or participated in a backpack giveaway providing children backpacks and supplies for their return to school; the Highland Park Latin Jazz Festival bringing Latin jazz musicians to share their art with the Community; The Los Angeles EcoVillage – an organization dedicated to raising the quality of community life while lowering environmental impacts; And BicycleMeals – a group that hand packs lunches and delivers them to unhoused residents in KoreaTown.
City’s Fiscal Situation & Contracts
After facing a tough 20/21 Fiscal Year in the City, with the assistance of Federal aid and the reopening of travel and tourism, the City reserve is back to over 8% – higher than the policy requirement of 5%. As a result of EAA members agreeing to delay salary increases and extend their contract to assist in the 20/21 fiscal crisis, EAA has the opportunity to reopen contracts in early 2022 to negotiate salaries. The Bargaining Committee has distributed an initial survey of the membership wants / needs and is now in the process of analyzing the responses.
Vaccinate or Terminate Says the City
In August 2021, the City implemented a new condition of employment under Ordinance 187134. This Ordinance requires that all city employees (1) report their vaccination status, and (2) become fully vaccinated by December 18, 2021. Employees who filed for medical and religious exemptions and those who have agreed to vaccinate by December 18, 2021, are currently required to test twice a week at their expense ($65/test). For those who choose not to comply, although the city initially stated that employees would not be fired over the new requirement, they have since changed their direction. In November, Departments began sending employees home on unpaid status, without due process, pending the separation process. A blatant violation of the rights of public sector employees (Skelly) and a provision that EAA did not agree to!
Over the last four months, EAA has been meeting with the city to discuss and negotiate the impacts of this Ordinance. Although meetings and discussions took place regularly, the City did not come to the table with the intention of bargaining in good faith. They did not provide EAA any of the information requested throughout the discussions and did not address any of our concerns or proposals. To the contrary, they increased penalties and changed provisions already agreed upon every step of the way. Although EAA agrees that vaccination adds a key layer of protection in the workplace, we also asserted and requested other safety measures be implemented, including a commitment to continue telecommuting. Additionally, we do not agree that members of EAA should be terminated as a result of this new (and possibly temporary) condition of employment. Our members are not typically in public facing positions and as stated prior, most are performing their duties from home, away from the workplace and the public. EAA has filed multiple actions including grievances for violation of due process and two Unfair Employee Relations Claims for bad faith bargaining that are now making their way through the process. In addition, we’ve objected to the City’s declaration of impasse. As a result of our actions, the City was ordered back to the table to continue negotiating with EAA along with two other City Unions. We have until the end of December to find agreement. For us, the goal is to save as many EAA jobs as possible. Stay tuned.
EAA Executive Director