Alameda Probation Members Stand Together, Win Long Contract Fight

Alameda Probation Officers Bargaining Team with Teamsters 856 Staff Attorney Malia Vella.

Alameda Probation Officers Bargaining Team with Teamsters 856 Staff Attorney Malia Vella.

Standing their ground through a year and half of bargaining proved a worthwhile endeavor for Teamsters 856 Alameda Probation Officers who recently ratified a new four-year agreement.

“I’m extremely happy, this is the best contract we’ve ever gotten,” said Teamsters 856 Steward and Bargaining Team Member Chantell Curl.

“There were no take-aways; we got everything we asked for,” said Curl, who’s been with the department for 18 years.

Shop Steward Clifford Chin, who’s a 15-year veteran of the Department, served on the bargaining committee for the first time. “I wanted to get involved because I saw a lot of issues at the Department that I wanted to help resolve,” said Chin. He said he found the bargaining process simultaneously frustrating and educational. “It was a team process, and in the end we worked together to get a good agreement,” he said.

The new contract retains the formula for calculating salary increases and preserves affordable health care – two issues the County pressed hard for concessions on. The agreement also give members the ability to sell back more vacation time, among other gains.

Teamsters 856 Vice President Rudy Gonzalez, who chaired negotiations with Staff Attorney and Public Policy Coordinator Malia Vella, credits the bargaining team and memberships’ willingness to outlast the County’s stalling tactics.

“As negotiations dragged on, our members’ resolve was tested, and they absolutely rose to the challenge,” Gonzalez said.

“This contract builds upon the work we as Teamsters have put in over the last 13 years to demand respect every day,” said Vella. “The stronger the contract is, the stronger we can be in the workplace,” she said.