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P.O. Box 29527 Oakland, California 94612


Date: October 11, 2019


To: The members of the Alameda County Management Employees Association-ACMEA


From: The Board of Directors of the Alameda County Management Employees Association


The ACMEA Board of Directors is publishing this letter to our members on the ACMEA website and our social media Facebook page because as of October 11, 2019, Operating Engineers Local Number 3 (OE3) has failed to provide the ACMEA Board of Directors with the ACMEA roster, with your contact information, claiming the information is a confidential internal document. We are working with a law firm, and the County, to obtain your addresses to communicate in a more personal manner with each ACMEA member.


During the last four years, the ACMEA Board of Directors has been systematically reviewing all aspects of ACMEA operations. The Board has evaluated the scope of services to members, including legal and labor representation. We have examined the collective bargaining process to determine if the best possible economic results have been realized for our members.


Over the past several years ACMEA members have voiced frequent complaints to the Board of Directors about OE3. These complaints include unresponsiveness (failing to return phone calls and emails), lack of follow-up, unprofessionalism, missing deadlines, unprofessional conduct, contractual concerns, and an overall lack of representation. When Board members become aware of these types of complaints and attempts to address the complaints, OE3 continues to turn a deaf ear to the ACMEA Board of Directors. It is important to understand that OE3 is retained via an affiliation agreement and works at the direction of the ACMEA Board of Directors. Recently OE3 has thumbed their nose at the ACMEA Board’s direction, taken action with little to no input from the Board of Directors and most recently has taken an antagonistic and even hostile approach to the Board of Directors direction.


At the same time, we have examined the costs which are incurred, on behalf of ACMEA members, for their representation. This review has been undertaken against the background of the greatest attack on public employee pensions and other benefits that we have seen in our lifetimes. The Board of Directors has concluded that we have entered upon an era where ACMEA, to best protect the economic and employment interests of its members, must be able to utilize all available resources, financial and human capital. The Board of Directors focused on developing a strategic plan to enhance, both the representation services provided to our members and ACMEA’s ability to withstand the legislative attacks on public employees pay and benefits.


Presently, all dues of our members are forwarded to Operating Engineers Local 3. 0E3, in turn, returns $1.62 per month per member to ACMEA to fund to ACMEA operations. The Board of Directors has determined that this arrangement is unsustainable and not in the best interest of ACMEA members. As a result, the ACMEA Board of Directors has voted unanimously to terminate the Affiliation Agreement with OE3, effective immediately.


The ACMEA Board of Directors has voted to retain the services of a law firm which has been leading the fight in California to preserve and improve public employee benefits, especially pensions, for both management and rank and file employee Associations. After a diligent search and interviewing of firms, that firm is Mastagni Holstedt, A.P.C. There will be a seamless transition.


The Mastagni Law Firm was the first law firm in California to represent public employees, starting in 1976. Mastagni currently represents 267 public employee associations. It is the only firm focused on serving public safety unions that has earned an “AV Preeminent” rating from Martindale-Hubbell – the highest rating the organization awards. Mastagni has zealously defended the rights of public employees, rank and file and management, statewide, for decades, winning landmark court decisions on matters involving disciplinary rights, vested pension benefits, and collective bargaining.


Mastagni is currently serving as lead counsel in Alameda County Deputy Sheriffs’ Association v. County of Alameda, challenging the Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act’s changes to the definition of pensionable income used to calculate pension benefits for legacy ACERA members. That case is pending before the California Supreme Court and is expected to determine the government’s power to modify public employees’ pension benefits throughout the state.


Mastagni is also highly experienced in bargaining, representing associations both at the table, and in fact- finding, mediation, interest arbitration, and unfair labor practice proceedings. As a full-service firm, Mastagni is able to offer legal representation on a wide variety of subjects outside of labor and employment, including personal injury, workers compensation, and civil litigation.


The cost of providing a high level of legal and labor services has been determined, by the ACMEA Board of Directors, to be significantly less than the cost of ACMEA’s existing Affiliation Agreement. We have determined that, with no increase in ACMEA dues, there will be a significant increase in the monies retained by ACMEA, after the representation of expenses have been paid, which monies will be available to fund those projects which will be required to help protect pay and benefits from the current assault we have been experiencing. ACMEA will become the dominant political force in Alameda County as a result of the dues savings.


This is an important decision which the Board of Directors has been contemplating for a number of years. The time to act, and this action will afford ACMEA a stable financial platform from which the battle must be waged. Some concern has been raised regarding health care benefits. The matter will be addressed during the upcoming open enrollment period, where all County employees have the opportunity to select health benefits. It is unlikely at this time OE3 will continue to offer their health care plan to Alameda County employees.


Thank you for your support. We look forward to working with all ACMEA members and the Mastagni law firm.


ACMEA Board of Directors