SBPEA’s Hold On County Employees Erodes Further As Court Personnel Choose SEIU

(April 10) The San Bernardino Public Employees Association’s position as the preeminent bargaining unit for the county government’s rank and file continued to around this week with the announcement that 671 Superior Court employees have signed on with Service Employees International Union Local 721 and are thereby withdrawing their membership in the association, known by its acronym SBPEA.
In an election held April 8 at the San Bernardino Justice Center, 386 ballots were cast, including ones from both court reporters and  employees of the court’s support services unit. There were 253 votes in favor of SEIU and 124 to remain affiliated with SBPEA. Five votes were entered for no representation and four were voided.  The 368 court employees participating in the vote controlled the destiny of labor representation for all of their colleagues. All 671 of those working in the courts will now be represented by SEIU.  SEIU is the acronym for Service Employees International Union.
At SEIU Local 721 headquarters, president Bob Schoonover and the staff around him were gloating over their most recent coup.
Two years ago, dissident SBPEA members began pushing for the decertification of the association as their representative. Talk among some at that time called for switching to the IBEW, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. That move was shot down in short order and last year, a move to oust SBPEA in favor of SEIU began. A comprehensive switchover of all of the 12,000 county employees represented by SBPEA to SEIU failed, and SBPEA President Deidre Rodriguez expelled some of the most vocal dissidents and successfully sought a court order banning SEIU from openly courting SBPEA members.
But discontent with SBPEA has persisted, and in February  SBPEA announced to its membership a tentative plan backed by the association board to affiliate with the Teamsters to increase the association’s leverage at the bargaining table and secure better terms in labor contracts.  But that did not cool the secessionist fever among some of its members and in March 840 members of the association’s professional unit opted out of SBPEA in favor of joining SEIU.
The vote on SBPEA’s affiliation with the Teamsters is ongoing and the remaining 11,000 county employees who are SBPEA members have until Monday to cast their ballots on that question.

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