Napa County’s largest employee union tentatively agreed to a slew of concessions this week, including pay and benefit freezes for the next fiscal year.

The Napa Association of Public Employees voted this week to ratify a tentative one-year extension to its current contract with the county, which was originally extended when it expired in June 2009.

The new agreement provides no cost-of-living or equity adjustments for county employees, and the county will freeze employee health insurance contributions at 2009 levels.

If approved, this will be the second consecutive year that county employees and management do not receive cost-of-living or equity salary increases.

The agreement also calls for the union and county management to work together during the coming fiscal year to explore lower retirement benefits for new employees.

“I am gratified that, once again, employee leaders have shown that they recognize the economic and fiscal realities that our nation and our county are up against,” said Napa County CEO Nancy Watt. “And I am looking forward to continuing to work together to explore lower tier retirement benefits for new employees that will lower costs while providing a fair benefit.” 

County employees ratified the agreement on June 24. 

The Napa County Board of Supervisors will be asked to approve the agreement June 29.

If approved, the agreement will go into effect on July 1 and expire on June 30, 2011. 

NAPE is a part of SEIU, Local 1021, which represents approximately 1,000 government employees.

(14) comments


I haven't had a raise in 3 years, you are breaking my heart.


isayunionyes - I am a former employee of the County of Napa. I appreciated what the SEIU did for the group locally except when it came to negotiations. I assume you work with SEIU so my next question is why does management always get their raises before the hard working middle-class? If the local union really worked with the BOS and management shouldn't they get raises first? Seriously. Where I work now the union group historically gets raises before management, while they can wait for years to see anything.

Oh and I do love my job and truly feel lucky when so many have been laid off or really seen a cut in pay. Not sure who you were pointing that argument out to, but point elsewhere.

It would also be nice to see a statistic on how many of the actual County union employees are my neighbor since you state they are. Over half of the Division I worked with at the time lived in Solano County and that's a bit more of a stretch to call neighbor.


Steph, just curious what the "middle class" might resemble if not for the advances in collective bargaining and the growth of unions 100 years ago?

Even workers in China have gone on strike and won.... maybe the beginnings of a growing middle class in that country?


It is sad to see that we, as a community, have buried our heads in the sand and have allowed the true elites, the bourgeoisie (all management), to dictate to us that the middle class, hard-working, local spending, neighbors-to-you-and-I, Napa County unionized worker is the main problem of the budget. The rhetoric of the elite has been accepted by those of us with our heads in the sand, and it sounds like the following, "I am happy to have my job!" Really? Are you happy to have your job? It doesn't sound like it. It sounds like you are jealous that you don't belong to a union that is willing to "Collectively" Bargain with the management on your behalf to try and get you the most fair deal that the budget can afford. The union doesn't just go busting heads at negotiations, they actually do research on the budget, they talk with the BOS and Management and try to find ways to help save money for the taxpayers, while still getting the workers the best deal possible.


The employees of the County of Napa are LUCKY. There are a lot of other government and private sector employees who wouldn't mind still having a job or not have had pay cuts equating to 15-20%. It doesn't sound like Napa employees (that I have spoken with) are complaining as a whole group, but just a few. I haven't had a pay raise for 3 years and that was before the 'crisis' hit. I'm lucky that I am only getting a 3% pay cut via furloughs and I'm in the minority when I think we should have taken the cuts further.

To those complaining? Get over it and be thankful you still have a job. It's tight times all over. I'm thankful my parents always behaved like it was or else I might be complaining too.


Who do you believe is going to pay for the tax-and-spend economy we have now, in the form of runaway inflation?

The middle class, that's who.


As for me, I'm on the side of the individual.

Union entitlement is a burden on everyone who is required to pay for the unearned demands of the unions. It is this realization that sounds like ranting to some, like a relief to the rest of us in the real world--the non-government-elites who are being squeezed to pay for a bureaucracy most of us don't want in the first place.


There is nothing fair about a progressive taxation scheme, and excessive regulation of industry will be the death of labor in this country.

Nobody has to start or maintain a business that employs desperate American workers. Some assume the opposite at their own peril.


My family is middle class and there are plenty more of us in the county that agree with union should decide how our tax money should be spent! I havent had a raise in 3 years, and my employer had to reduce some staff, and yes, we are "doing more with less", but I am thankful every day that I have a job in Napa with benefits! And we're not forced to pay some organization dues, just so we can be employed. We employ 18 people and about half of them live in Solano Co. None of them believe wages are better there than in Napa Co. If people want to leave, it only opens up a potential employment opportunity for someone else.


Wanda and Madison...I have to drive 3-4 hours per day just to get to my job. I could let my house go into foreclosure, file bankruptcy so I could move closer. But then if that private sector job goes away I am really screwed. More so than now with my drive.

So if the govt employees have to take unpaid time off or get no cost of living raise boo hoo. I say GREAT. If they do not like it then quit. I am sure there a many many qualified if not over qualified who would be happy to take their job at the current conditions.

We are not all a part of the elites.


So if I understand correctly, a "concession" in labor negotiations if when the employees continue to get their same pay and benefits while the employer remains incapable of sustaining said payroll and benefits. Yea, that makes sense.

Madison Jay Hamilton
Madison Jay Hamilton

Anti-labor rants by commenters are becoming more numerous. The war on the few remaining members of the country's middle class continues. The divide-and-conquer strategy employed by management continues to be effective. Misery loves company, and the race to the bottom will probably continue for quite some time. A country of minimum wage workers will not support the consumer economy that thrived in the U.S. from 1945 to 1980. Fair, progressive taxation policies and the willingness and ability to regulate industry will be necessary to correct the economic, political and social imbalances characterizing management/labor relations. Alas, authoritarian followers parroting pro-management rhetoric is mistaken for populism, while progressive pro-labor voices are branded socialist. Nevertheless, the question remains: Which side are you on?


It still amazes me as a taxpayer that I pay taxes in my county and then the county has to negotiate with some union on how to spend those tax dollars. I mean I may have voted county officials into office to oversea my tax dollars but I sure did note vote for some union to tell us how much we have to spend.


Why would we give County employees who actually keep Napa going a raise? Well, there are a few reasons:

Because the librarians and jail guards are not working hard enough?

Because the Board of Supervisors candidate who got the LEAST votes campaigned against service employees (who are paid far less the Supervisors)?

Because they haven't gotten a cost of living increase for THREE YEARS?

Because the County won't hire any new staff so current employees are doing their work AND the work of those who've retired or left for Sonama, Solano, or Marin where they get paid more?

Enough! Napa stays beautiful and works smoothly because of the people who work the front lines, but we're losing them & cannot recruit the best replacements because the Board doesn't think the community will support the employees. Well, the county workers are the neighbors who volunteer in Napa, spend their salaries in Napa, and work everyday on and off the clock to support our town ... and WE SUPPORT THEM!

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