Alameda Probation Archive

Alameda Probation Teamster Membership Update
April 13, 2016

As you all know there are a number of issues facing our members. We will have a membership meeting to address what the Union is doing to to counteract these attacks and how you can join in to our actions. We will also provide an update on bargaining, where we remain resolute in fighting.

I look forward to seeing you all tomorrow at noon at the PC. As always, lunch will be provided.

In solidarity,

  1. Malia Vella
    Representative Staff Attorney &
    Public Policy Coordinator
    Teamsters Local 856


Alameda Probation Teamster Membership Update
March 25, 2016

We know that recent developments have caused the unrest and tension within the Department to soar. We want to let you know that we have taken steps to fight back and take a stand against the attacks on our members. In addition to alerting County Human Resources and the Board to the recent actions of the Chief, we sent this formal complaint asking them to take immediate action.

We are committed to representing you all and advocating for change when it is so evidently needed. We are here for both the short and long term fights, and will continue to push for stronger contractual protections at the bargaining table as well. It is crucial that we continue to stand together and fight smart. An attack on one probation officer, is an attack on everyone.

In solidarity,

Malia Vella
Union Representative/Staff Attorney


Alameda Probation Teamsters Membership Update
January 7, 2016Yesterday the Civil Service Commission voted to hear our appeal regarding the unit supervisor minimum qualifications. The substantive appeal will likely occur in February. The Union will also be filing an appeal as to HR Director Mount’s challenge to the Union’s ability to file an appeal on behalf of aggrieved members. To this end we are working with our colleagues in other County unions in a joint venture.Our next bargaining session with the County is scheduled for January 19th. While we have made significant movement at the table, we are waiting for the Department to meet us. To date we are still holding firm on our position with regard to the employees’ share of healthcare premiums and the salary survey, while the Department continues to push for major takeaways. We are also still trying to address a number of crucial non-economic issues that impact your working conditions and are hopeful we will see some positive movement from the County in this realm.As a reminder, you all have Weingarten and POBAR rights, which entitle you to representation whenever you have reason to believe a conversation may lead to disciplinary action. This includes when you are called in as a witness to give testimony, when your supervisor wants to speak with you regarding work performance or when you are asked questions regarding a pending IA of yourself or a colleague. In order to get union representation and not waive your rights, you must affirmatively ask that a union representative be present. Much like Miranda rights, this means you must clearly and unequivocally ask for your union representative. I recommend doing this immediately and then contacting me or any steward directly before scheduling a meeting/interview or agreeing to a proposed time.To hear more about bargaining and our pending appeals please attend our monthly membership meeting next Thursday, January 14th at noon at the Hayward office. As always lunch will be provided.In solidarity,M. Malia Vella
Representative Staff Attorney &
Public Policy Coordinator
Teamsters Local 856


Alameda Probation Teamsters Membership Update
January 6, 2016In following up to all that was discussed and covered at the December 2015 membership meeting, today is our critical appeal to the Civil Service Commission regarding the Unit Supervisor position and Minimum Qualifications.Due to the delicate nature of the appeal (issues with standing and the fact this position is part of another bargaining unit), the Union has already reached out to OE3 who represents ACMEA and has developed a specific strategy to maximize our opportunity for success.To this end we have already lined up speakers who are prepared to go on record and address the specific issues raised by the Commission at their November meeting.It is not advisable for any non-speakers to attend the meeting, as this is an HR commission and attending this meeting is not considered departmental business. Furthermore this is not a rally and we want to be respectful of the volunteer commissioners who have the authority to overturn their previous decision that was based on limited and unproven information.The Union will send out an update after the hearing regarding the Commission’s decision on our appeal. If there is a future action that would benefit from a showing of solidarity we will let you know.In solidarity,

M. Malia Vella
Representative Staff Attorney &
Public Policy Coordinator
Teamsters Local 856

Alameda Probation Teamsters Membership Update
December 1, 2015Over the course of the past few weeks the Union has been advocating for members regarding a number of issues of great concern, so we wanted to update you on where things stand.About a month ago issues arose regarding who is eligible for unit supervisor positions. The Union has filed numerous requests for information from HRS (Central HR) to gain clarification on the minimum qualifications and the process and are still awaiting responses to several inquiries. We have also raised the issues with the management association and with the Board of Supervisors, discussed the matter at the labor management meetings, and are in the process of appealing a recent decision by the Civil Service Commission. If you are scheduled to take, or have appeared for an oral board for the recent unit supervisor position, please contact a shop steward (Cliff Chin, Ed Braun, Jake Glowkowski, Kevin Bryant, Chantall Curl) ASAP. We need all those being considered for the unit supervisor positions to join in the appeal, as a united front will give us the edge we need to benefit our entire group.We are also meeting directly with the County Supervisors regarding key bargaining issues including health care, the salary survey, and the transfer policy. As part of those meetings we have used the opportunity to address the low morale, number of IA’s and IA process, interference with union activity and representation and concern for the future of the Department. As always, if you are being directed to participate in an investigation or being called to testify before PSU or an outside investigator, you may assert your Weingarten rights and ask for union representation. You should contact Malia ( as soon as PSU contacts you.We continue to bargain with the County and have another date set for this Thursday, December 3rd. We expect to see movement and will update you following Thursday’s bargaining session.Monthly Membership MeetingsFor those of you who haven’t been able to make it to our monthly membership meetings on the second Thursday of every month, our next meeting will be at the JJC on Thursday, December 10th at noon.

In solidarity,


M. Malia Vella
Representative Staff Attorney &
Public Policy Coordinator
Teamsters Local 856



June 9, 2015

Membership Meeting Thursday

We will be having our monthly membership meeting this Thursday, June 11th at noon in room C1011 at the JJC. We will provide updates from bargaining and the LMC.

As always, lunch will be provided. I look forward to seeing you there!

In solidarity,

M. Malia Vella
Representative Staff Attorney &
Public Policy Coordinator


May 27, 2015

Bargaining Update

Thursday, May 14th, your bargaining team met with the County for our 8th
negotiation session. We reiterated our position that we are firm in our wage
proposal – to maintain the salary survey without a cap. We also identified some
areas where we are conceptually close to agreement, including increasing the
health allowance, increasing the amount of life insurance DPOs can purchase,
and adding a childcare assistance program into the contract, through a Letter
of Understanding (similar to the one management currently has). The steering
committee will meet again on May 28, 2015, to provide feedback and advice
before our next negotiation session with the County (scheduled for June 4,

next membership meeting will be held Thursday, June 11, 2015, at noon at the
JJC. We look forward to seeing you there.

In Solidarity,

Malia Vella
Staff Attorney/Public Policy Coordinator

May 21, 2015

Based on input from our membership that there
would be low attendance at a meeting held the Friday before a holiday weekend,
we’ve decided to combine the May membership meeting with the June meeting that
will be held on Thursday, June 11th at  noon at the JJC.

In Solidarity,

Malia Vella
Staff Attorney/Public Policy Coordinator

May 14, 2015

Today’s meeting at the PC has been rescheduled to Friday,
May 22nd at noon at the PC as the bargaining team is currently in
negotiations with the County.


April 28, 2015

Negotiations Update
On April 27, 2015, your bargaining team
had its 7th negotiation session with the County. At the meeting, the County
passed a package proposal, which included, among other things, setting a low
cap on our salary survey and increasing the amount DPOs pay into their
healthcare. Understanding that these issues are of the utmost importance to the
unit, your bargaining team rejected the County’s proposal. We return to the
bargaining table again on May 14, 2015. As always, we will keep you updated as
things progress.

In Unity,

Sarah Sandford-Smith
Legal Director

Rudy Gonzalez
Vice President

Malia Vella
Staff Attorney/Public
Policy Coordinator

April 19, 2015

Staff Attorney/Public Policy Coordinator Malia Vella Joins Alameda County Teamsters Representation Team
We have added
another member to the Local 856 team representing Alameda Probation. Staff
Attorney Malia Vella will be handling the day-to-day representation for Alameda
County Probation Officers beginning April 20, 2015 and will join our
negotiation team. Sarah Sandford-Smith will be returning to the law firm Beeson, Tayer &
Bodine, which represents Local 856 and its members. In this capacity, Sarah will
remain as your legal representative throughout the negotiations process at the
bargaining table, for Internal Affairs investigations, and will also be
present at membership meetings. Rudy Gonzalez will continue to chair the

Malia, who also
serves as our Public Policy Coordinator, was formerly an associate at
Olson Hagel & Fishburn and has an extensive background in legislative
affairs and East Bay politics through her work as an aide to members of the
State Assembly and Senate.

If you have any
questions, please feel free to email Sarah, (,
Rudy (
or Malia (

April 15, 2015

Negotiations Update
On Thursday, April 9, 2015, your bargaining
team met with the County for the sixth negotiation session. We provided the
County more detailed proposals regarding the protection of DPO work and
uniforms. (Our uniform proposal is a proactive measure to make sure that any
uniform items that may be required in the future are procured at the County’s
expense. Should the Department move in that direction, we would still demand a
meet and confer on that decision.) The County had not met with the Board
of Supervisors between the fifth and sixth sessions, so they were unable to
respond to any of our proposals. Our next bargaining session is scheduled for
April 27, 2015.

This week, your bargaining steering committee
will meet again, to work on the substance of proposals, and to discuss the
status of negotiations. We will keep you updated as the talks progress.

The next membership meeting is scheduled for
noon on Thursday, May 14, 2015, at the PC. Thank you to everyone who turned out
to last week’s meeting in Hayward.

In Solidarity,

Sarah Sandford-Smith      Rudy Gonzalez
Legal Director
Vice President

March 19, 2015

Teamsters 856 joins with SCOPO and other groups to lend support to SB 428 which would exempt probation officers from jury duty.

See the letter from Vice President Rudy Gonzalez here.

March 17, 2015

On Thursday, March 12, 2015, your Steering Committee met to engage in discussions around bargaining and proposals. It was a successful meeting, and we are looking forward to continuing these conversations throughout the bargaining process. Your Steering Committee is made up of the following members:

Darren Horn
Donna Saffel
Eric Akiyama
Michael Fleming
Tojo Thomas
Chantell Curl
Brandon Ransburg
Kevin Bryant
Cliff Chin
Ed Braun
Jake Glodowski
Hasani Tabari

We will keep you updated as negotiations progress.

In Solidarity,

Sarah Sandford-Smith                   Rudy Gonzalez
Legal Director                               Vice President

March 4, 2015

Yesterday, your bargaining team met with the County to continue negotiations over a successor MOU. During this session, we passed a number of economic proposals, including: restoring fully-paid healthcare; amending the vacation sell-back language so that DPOs who have the ability to sell back 10 days of vacation will be able to do so; creating a childcare assistance program; adding another holiday, and; increasing the amount in the Cafeteria plan. We also informed the County that we will be making a proposal to protect DPO work.Thank you to everyone who completed a bargaining survey! If you have not done so, there is still time. Please click the link below to access the survey. You have until Wednesday, March 11, 2015, to take the survey.Please note – the membership meeting scheduled for March 12, 2015, will instead be used as a time for the Steering Committee to meet. As stated in the last email, the Steering Committee will meet with the bargaining team to provide advice and feedback on the direction of the negotiations. If you are interested in serving on the Steering Committee, please email Sarah Sandford-Smith at: Thank you to those who have already expressed an interest.Finally, our next membership meeting will be on April 9, 2015, in Hayward. We look forward to seeing you there.In Solidarity, 

Sarah Sandford-Smith                                    Rudy Gonzalez
Legal Director                                                 Vice President

Click here to take the negotiations survey



March 2, 2015

Alameda Probation Teamsters,

As you are aware, we are currently in negotiations with the County over a successor MOU. As a part of this process, we would like to establish a Teamsters Steering Committee, to give guidance and feedback to your bargaining team.

The first meeting of the Steering Committee will take place on March 12, 2015, at 12:00pm at the JJC. Please send an email to if you are interested in serving on the Steering Committee, and being a part of the
negotiations process.


Sarah Sandford-Smith                    Rudy Gonzalez
Legal Director                                 Vice President



February 17, 2015

Negotiations Update

As you are probably aware, Teamsters Local 856 and the County have started bargaining for a successor contract. To date, we have had three sessions. Two sessions ago, the Union passed a wage proposal, to secure the salary survey in the next contract. During our bargaining session on Wednesday, February 11, 2015, the County passed its counter on wages, and we are making progress towards maintaining the salary survey. Additionally, the Union passed a proposal on transfers, with the intent to formalize a transfer process that is clear and understandable, and that does not leave room for arbitrary transfer selections.

Our next bargaining sessions are scheduled for March 3, March 24 and April 9, 2015. Please complete the Bargaining Survey that was sent to you via email on February 5, 2015. We need your input in order to finish finalizing our proposals. Thank you to those individuals who have already completed the survey.
Click here to take the bargaining survey.


Sarah Sandford-Smith                                   Rudy Gonzalez
Legal Director                                                Vice President

January 22, 2015

Alameda Probation Teamsters,

Your Union representatives, in an effort to prepare for successor negotiations, have met with members of the County’s bargaining team to discuss priorities. There have been rumors that the County will be moving away from salary surveys in future negotiations and we will fight to protect this mechanism for increasing compensation. We met to discuss ground rules and will be issuing a bargaining survey to all DPO’s to further prepare for these important negotiations.

Please sign up for email updates at or


Sarah Sandford-Smith                 Rudy Gonzalez

Legal Director                              Vice President

October 28, 2014

Dear Alameda County Probation Teamster,

Effective November 1,
2014, Teamsters Local 856 membership in Alameda County Probation Department
will now include coverage under the PORAC Legal Defense Fund (LDF Plan II),
providing civil and criminal protection for acts or omissions within the scope
of employment.
Local 856 has a strong working partnership with the prominent
law firm Rains Lucia Stern and they have been designated as the legal counsel
to handle Alameda County Probation LDF cases.

For criminal cases, this means you will be
provided full legal representation from the first indication of potential
criminal exposure arising from an act committed within the scope of employment
(e.g. shooting, custody death, use of force resulting in serious physical
injury, violation of civil rights). For civil matters, it includes representation by an experienced civil attorney if you are
sued for an act within the scope of employment, but the County refuses to
defend the case. If the County defends, but fails to fully indemnify you, the
Legal Defense Fund will provide an experienced attorney to monitor the case.

At the November 13,
2014 membership meeting we will begin training to ensure you are fully informed
about how to access LDF. In mid-November, you will receive your LDF coverage
card with 24 Hour Emergency contact information. The LDF Emergency Contact
Number is 
(888) 556-5631.

In Unity,

Peter Finn
Secretary-Treasurer/Principal Officer

Rudy Gonzalez
Vice President

Sarah Sandford-Smith
Legal Director

May 21, 2014

Tomorrow is the last day to nominate stewards

Tomorrow is the last day to make nominations for our upcoming shop steward election. Nominations may be made by replying to this email address, Ballots will be mailed out to members on Friday, May 23, 2014 and must be returned in the postage-paid envelope postmarked by June 6, 2014.

Click here to view the complete election guidelines.

In solidarity,

Sarah Sandford-Smith
Legal Director

Rudy Gonzalez
Vice President






May 14, 2014

Teamsters 856 to Move Forward with AB 197 AppealOn Tuesday, we sent you an email regarding the court’s decision in the consolidated AB 197 cases. In the email, we mentioned that some of the Petitioners would be appealing the decision. We have had discussions with outside counsel about our continued involvement, and we have authorized counsel to move ahead with the appeal.Tomorrow, we have another conference call with outside counsel regarding the specifics of the appeal. Part of the appeal will involve seeking to keep the stay in place. We will keep you updated as the appeal process progresses.In solidarity,Sarah Sandford-Smith
Legal DirectorRudy Gonzalez
Vice President 



May 15, 2014

We are holding an election to add more shop stewards for Alameda County. Nominations begin today and will last for one week. The detailed election guidelines can be found by clicking here. The guidelines will be posted and remain posted for the duration of the election at the following locations: 1) Probation Center, 2) Juvenile Justice Center, and 3) Hayward Field Office.

In solidarity,

Sarah Sandford-Smith
Legal Director

Rudy Gonzalez
Vice President




May 13, 2014

Update on ACERA Pension Litigation – Final Decision and Writs Issued

The court has issued its final decision and writs in the three consolidated AB 197 cases, in which Local 856 and several of your members sued ACERA.  A “writ” is a final order a court issues when it directs a public entity, like ACERA, to take or refrain from taking, certain actions. The Court’s final decision in the ACERA case confirms the prior interim decisions the court has made throughout this litigation — and that we have reported on in recent months — with one important exception.  The court determined there is no “estoppel class” for Alameda County, described below.  Upon issuance of the writs, the court’s decision is appealable, and we understand that petitioners will be appealing the court’s ruling.  This update explains the ruling and how it impacts you.


For members who were able to retire before December 31, 2012, a stay has been in effect throughout the litigation, and will continue to be in effect for 60 days from May 12, 2014.  The stay requires ACERA to compute your benefits in accordance with the pension rules as they existed prior to AB-197.  This means that under the stay the value of leave cash-outs is included in your pensionable pay or “compensation earnable”.  However, Petitioners will be appealing the court’s ruling and will move quickly to seek a ruling from the Court of Appeals to keep the stay in place during the appeals process, so that you will not be required to make a decision to retire now.  If you were covered by the stay, you have sixty days from May 12, 2014 to retire under the old rules.  We will immediately inform you, and we will provide an update in the first week of June, as to whether the stay has been extended through the appeals process so that you do not have to make your decision now.


On a positive note, the court determined that members hired before PEPRA have a vested right to continue to have on-call, stand-by and similar pay codes included in compensation earnable when the hours are regularly worked and assigned by your department.  However, such pay codes are not automatically included in compensation earnable, and the writ authorizes ACERA to make an individual determination for each retiree to ensure the pay components are not irregular.


In prior updates we referred to what the court refers to as the “estoppel class,” meaning members who were ineligible to retire prior to December 31, 2012, but who had saved vacation time that they intended to cashout in their final year of compensation when they eventually retire. In prior tentative decisions the court had indicated that employees who fall into this category could rely on ACERA’s past practice to the extent they had earned and saved vacation time.  In its final ruling, however, the court determined that ACERA had not made this practice explicit enough in its handbooks to permit the court to depart from what the court believes is required by the county retirement laws.  As a result, other than on-call and stand-by pay, members who were not eligible to retire before December 31, 2012, have no right to include cash-outs in their pensionable pay. As noted above, members who could retire prior to that date are covered by the stay for the next 60 days, unless we obtain an extension pending appeals.


In Solidarity,


Sarah Sandford-Smith

Legal Director


March 25, 2014

Pension lawsuit update


We have another update on the AB 197 pension litigation against ACERA for changes it made to your pension benefits relating to inclusion of cash-outs of paid leave and inclusion of on-call, call-back and other pay items, in your final pensionable pay. The court has issued a final decision, and a hearing is set for April 25 during which the court will consider how its decision it be enforced (meaning the form of “writ” that will issue and what will be required of ACERA). The court is on-track to issue a judgment, and lift the stay applicable to members who could have retired on December 31, 2012. We expect this to occur between mid-June and early July. The court’s decision largely reflects its tentative decision that we reported on earlier in the month.

Leave Cash-outs
The court continues to hold that leave cashouts exceeding what can be earned or accrued in a year, or that were paid out after retirement as terminal pay, should never have been included in pensionable pay. However, the court has accepted that members may have relied on their ability to cash-out leave for pension purposes, and therefore it is fair — or equitable — to allow some members to continue to do so if they meet the following criteria: (1) On December 31, 2012 they had more than a year’s worth of leave saved in their leave bank; (2) in the past they were permitted to cashout more than a year of leave before retirement and