Contra Costa County officials released details about a planned Juneteenth flag-raising ceremony at County Center in Redwood City this Friday. The flag raising will take place at 9 a.m. in the courtyard of 400 County Center. Later in the month, the flag will be moved to a more visible flagpole on Veterans Boulevard in Redwood City, which is less suitable for a ceremony, the County said. At Friday's ceremony, Marie Davis, former NAACP local chapter president, will sing the Black national anthem. Speakers will include the Rev. Lorrie Owens, San Mateo NAACP; Rose Jacobs Gibson, Honorary Chair of the 2022 Juneteenth Celebration and Supervisors Don Horsley and Carole Groom. For those unable to attend, the ceremony will be livestreamed on the County’s Facebook page and the recording later posted on its Juneteeth webpage, which features a curated reading list from local libraries along with historical details. Beyond the ceremony, the County will host a month of hour-long webinars on  "topics including local perspectives on Juneteeth and housing." The webinasr will take place at 7 p.m. every Tuesday, beginning June 7. Learn more and register for events here. On May 3, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors designated June 19 as Juneteenth and made it an observed County government holiday. "Juneteenth gets its name from combining June and nineteenth, the day (June 19) in 1865 when the enslaved people of Texas learned of the freedom following the Civil War," the County notes. "The County of San Mateo is raising the flag in early June to take the opportunity to educate the public about the history, power, resilience and unbroken spirit of Black Americans over the course of the month." To Hornsley, Juneteen is a time to reflect upon history and "take action to progress the causes of equality and justice. Groom added,  “Juneteenth is a day to recommit ourselves to equity, equality, and justice for all."

County workers strike ends, still no agreement

in Community/Featured/Headline

San Mateo County says normal services resumed today following a two-day labor strike by Human Services Unit workers.

The unit of AFSCME Local 829, which represents 915 employees in departments including the Human Services Agency, Health, the Sheriff’s Office and District Attorney’s Office, walked off the job on Tuesday and Wednesday to demand a better contract than what the county has offered.

Last week, a three-year labor agreement was ratified between the county and about 800 other employees, represented by 10 of the 11 county units of AFSCME Local 829.  The contract included a total 12-percent pay increase to keep up with cost of living adjustments.

The Human Services Unit said in a statement that it did not accept the contract, deciding to “keep fighting because, more than fair pay, they are demanding better working conditions.”

“It has a lot to do with caseload issues and the way our management has been working with us,” Felipe Donaire, a social worker, said in a union statement.

The unit says it is fighting for reduced caseloads; fair voluntary time off policy that takes into consideration the demanding jobs social services workers perform; the ability to telecommute for members who live long distances outside the county; fair overtime pay; and the need to address the county’s worker retention issue for key positions, which is causing San Mateo County to lose a number of qualified workers.

The County said it hopes the union representatives will reconsider its offer.

“We’ve come a long way in addressing many issues and we believe this offer that was accepted by 10 of the 11 representation units is generous and fair,” County Manager Mike Callagy said.

Aside from the 12 percent wage increase, the County’s offer includes longevity pay: 1 percent after the equivalent of five years of service and increased longevity pay of 1 percent at 10 and 20 years of service, and 2 percent at 25 years; and additional equity increase for specified classifications and other specialty pay based on market conditions. The county said it is also assembling an organization-wide labor management committee to review the County’s retiree health and additional benefits.

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