URGENT Covid19 and Negotiations Update
Mar 16, 2020

Hi CEMA members, the County requested we do a hold on this prior to the 1pm, 3-16-20 press conference.  We are now reposting it with updated information in red.

COVID19 Urgent Updates

This weekend has seen serious developments in the Covid19 Response and there are more to come.  All nine Bay Area counties will be closing all non-essential businesses by government order effective.  This closure will carry the force of law that resides in each County Public Health Officer. This is different than Governor Newsom's advisory recommendation from late Sunday.  There will be a coordinated press conference from all Public Health Officers from all 9 Bay Area Counties today at noon.  This includes Court and County employees but more critically ALL non-essential businesses operating within the 9 Bay Area counties.  Local public health officers made this decision over the weekend.  This could change but as of 11pm yesterday the following was accurate:

Please note: This information was accurate as of 11pm 3/15/20. We foresee it changing as of the Press Conference scheduled for today, Monday March 16th at noon (1pm). 

All businesses but the following will be closed in all 9 Bay Area Counties, a longer list of business exemptions were listed including hardware stores, laundromats and gas stations

  • Banks
  • Pharmacies
  • Medical Offices / Services (Hospital, Urgent Care, Drs. Offices)
  • Grocery Stores
  • Essential Government Services like 911, Ambulances, Law and Fire, Etc. 

What is still being discussed is if the following will be open delivery services, gas stations, transport will remain open, there is unclear direction on private workplaces and offices beyond a shelter in place directive for individuals:

  • Delivery Services remaining open
  • Gas Stations remaining open
  • Transportation Services and Hubs
  • Offices and private workspaces will not be open to the public 

These orders go into effect at 12:01am on 3-17-20

This means almost every business and store you might normally go to - restaurant, bar, gym, cell phone, coffee shop, auto dealer, house of worship, etc. will be closed tomorrow at a time to be announced.  

Contingency plans for negotiations with CEMA and the County are being arranged by phone or Skype today.

There is renewed urgency for CEMA to negotiate relief side-letters for our emergency service workers, many of whom have worked 12 hour days for 6 days a week since February 28th.  Non-essential CEMA County employees will be sent home with pay effective Monday 3/16/2020. For the County workers pay is assured. Court workers status is still unknown as of this mailing and should be updated later today.  CEMA has reached out to Court Administration.

If you have not been contacted and told to stay home you are likely considered essential.  CEMA will be partnering with the County and Court to get out as much information via email, auto-dialer, website and other methods as needed. Please stay alert for our notifications.

With your leadership, patience and professionalism we will all get through this crisis together.  Go fourth and be the leaders in your workplace and community we know you all to be.  Your calm actions now will keep critical service delivery available and will serve and help save a shaken, sick and uncertain public.  


Your CEMA negotiation team is happy to have some good news to share in this hectic time.  The team met Thursday afternoon and all-day Friday and has closed almost all issues at the negotiation table.  

Progress was made on 

  • achieving full back pay
  • improved removal of first-day sick language
  • improved on call language/pay
  • improved night/evening shift differential 
  • improved bilingual pay, notary differential
  • full license reimbursement
  • improved professional development and tuition banks/draw
  • movement on compaction and realignments for affected CEMA classifications.  

We have two major outstanding issues which we are trying to close out quickly: pension reduction and HR processes.  CEMA has been pushing for a complete pension reduction for 8 months.  CEMA is still pushing for a greater pension reduction than the County’s current offer, but our realistic assessment is such a reduction is not a possibility right now.  Bear in mind that neither CEMA nor the County can remove or reduce any previously made proposals or tentative agreements from bargaining.  This is known as regressive bargaining and is prohibited by PERB.

We have a planned meeting with the County’s negotiators this afternoon and are optimistic that we can make additional progress.  Notice of Membership Vote will be sent as soon as agreement is reached.

Disaster Service Worker

As a reminder, (nearly) every job description in the County includes “may be assigned as a disaster service worker”.  It is for occasions like these that the County has included this provision.  Being assigned as a disaster service worker means that the County can assign individuals duties which they are not normally assigned but which they are capable and qualified of performing safely.  Individual schedules, hours and days of work, can also be changed without notice during an emergency.  

CEMA is currently working on a side letter agreement to address excessive overtime with mandatory relief time and Administrative Leave. This language is a priority, given the critical situation of the COVID-19 virus and work that is being demanded of our CEMA members. 

Remember that burning yourself out does a disservice to yourself and the community that we serve.  We need to keep ourselves healthy so that we can help those in need