Friday, August 20, 2010
ADDA Agrees on Tentative Contract With County
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The Association of Deputy District Attorneys said yesterday it had come to a tentative agreement with the County of Los Angeles on a labor contract, the first such contract between the parties.
ADDA President Hyatt Seligman, a 32-year veteran prosecutor, called the agreement “a victory for all sides, including prosecutors, the county, and most importantly the taxpayers and residents we protect.”
A spokesperson for the union, which represents Los Angeles County deputy district attorneys and was certified as their collective bargaining unit in March 2008, said that details of the one-year contract will be released to association members shortly.
A spokesperson for District Attorney Steve Cooley’s office referred requests for comment to the county.
Attorney Donald L. Washington of the Employee Relations Office in the County’s Chief Executive Office, who was the county’s chief negotiator, told the MetNews that the tentative agreement was “conceptual” and still subject to “fine-tuning.” But he commented that it represented “just a basic contract” and included no economic enhancements or bonuses.
Washington said the next step once details are worked out would be ratification by the union’s members. He indicated that union officials were in the process of preparing to seek ratification, and said he expected that process would take two or three weeks once the contract’s language is finalized.
The agreement was the product of negotiations that commenced in 2008 between the union and the county. The union spokesperson said the negotiations took place during a bargaining cycle when no county union received any form of economic enhancement and where other unions were engaged in concession bargaining because of the difficult budget climate.
She added that the focus of union negotiators, given the climate, was to protect existing pay, benefits and working conditions as well as to secure other improvements for its members.
Seligman commented that the gains realized in the tentative agreement would benefit deputy district attorneys.
“This is an historic first-ever labor agreement for our prosecutors-only union,” he said. “It gives much-needed protection to our dedicated, hard-working deputies who make a difference every day for the citizens of Los Angeles County in our courts by ensuring that justice is done in every criminal case.
“We look forward to building on this next spring. What was not realized in this round of negotiations will be at the top of our agenda when we return to the bargaining table in a matter of months.”
Seligman also emphasized the significance of the agreement, pointing to animosity that has existed between the group and Cooley.
“Over the last few years, we had no choice but to address our issues in court and through the filing of unfair labor practice charges,” Seligman said. “This agreement gives us better alternatives to resolve disputes and improve the District Attorney’s office, so that we can be even more effective in fighting for the people of Los Angeles County. It is my hope that this agreement represents a new direction for county management and the Cooley administration, so that such disputes will no longer arise.”
The ADDA spokesperson said the group expects a first indication of Cooley’s posture soon, as the parties follow up on outstanding issues that they agreed to refer to a Joint Labor-Management Committee for further consideration during the term of the agreement.
Seligman acknowledged the cooperation of the Board of Supervisors, particularly Mark Ridley-Thomas, and Chief Executive Officer William Fujioka, and he praised the association’s contract negotiation team.
“ADDA was quite capably represented by a truly dedicated group of union negotiators who, since bargaining began in December 2008, have made many personal sacrifices for their fellow members,” he said.
Seligman also recognized the County’s employee relations staff, particularly Washington and his co-negotiator, Marie Willard.
“Mr. Washington and Ms. Willard deserve to be commended for their skill, ability and professionalism,” he said.
Copyright 2010, Metropolitan News Company