Teamsters Local 1932 on Watch: SBCERA & EBAC

A message from Teamsters Local 1932 Secretary-Treasurer Randy Korgan (July 2018):


Beyond MOUs, our union is advocating for members when it comes to larger structures that shape our ability to enjoy a decent life without financial distress rearing its head. Long-term Teamster plans involve reforming the mechanisms behind potential increases in your retirement contributions, as well as any changes to your medical expenses.

In San Bernardino County, two bodies — the San Bernardino County Employees Retirement Board (SBCERA) and San Bernardino County Employees’ Benefit Advisory Committee (EBAC) — currently keep the very people they affect removed from their decision-making process, aside from token measures. Similar mechanisms are also at work throughout the cities and agencies in the region.

But, member power can help transform a status-quo that doesn’t allow us to fully thrive as happy residents of the Inland Empire. By standing together as Teamsters, and organizing for a better way, we can win. Teamsters are already proving that this is the only way forward.

SBCERA: Retirement

SBCERA has never been challenged on their decisions by the working people of San Bernardino County — until now. On April 5, 2018, hundreds of San Bernardino County Teamsters and allies throughout the Inland Empire stood together to tell the Board of Trustees at SBCERA that they would no longer be allowed to raise rates without hearing about it from the people they’d be affecting — especially with an increase this Summer deemed unnecessary by experts in our union.

A recent analysis by Teamsters Local 1932 concludes that the Board of Trustees of the San Bernardino County Employees’ Retirement Association has lowered the Assumed Rate of Return on Investments going forward as asset managers and fund consultants roll in the dough. According to SBCERA’s 2017 annual report, total asset manager fees skyrocketed more than 75% between 2016 and 2017. In just one year, fees increased: 616% for Equity Managers — 46% for Fixed Income Managers — 22% for Real Estate Managers — 63% for Alternative Managers

During this same period, fees for SBCERA’s actuarial and custodial services also jumped 71% and 53% respectively. Were these services competitively bid? Who approved the contracts? Are the fee increases performance based? If so, will lower benchmarks generate additional windfalls for Wall St. firms? Before County employees are forced to pay more, our union demands accountability and answers to these questions. Teamsters Local 1932 and SBCERA continue to work toward institutionalizing formal dialogue between our union and SBCERA.

EBAC: Health Care

The San Bernardino County Employees’ Benefit Advisory Committee (EBAC) decided to increase the cost of County employee medical coverage in July. Why did this happen? Normally, medical coverage is a mandatory subject of bargaining, but EBAC has been the County’s method of managing all of your benefits for more than a decade. In our opinion, this increase represents everything wrong with a long-broken status-quo. Our union will be taking a stand to question the effectiveness of EBAC under its current iteration.

Since the inception of Teamsters Local 1932 in 2015, union representatives have attended EBAC meetings. One thing is clear — working families do not have a meaningful voice at the table. Meeting participation is reduced to recommendations that are then passed along to County negotiations with insurance carriers. Our union has requested the governing document, and other pertinent information, wherein the past SBPEA was supposed to have conceded authority on your medical benefits, but our union has not received that signed document.

Before the committee passed the increase, our Union requested a thorough evaluation of the plan and why EBAC specifically felt that passing on cost burdens to you was just. Our Union also began a process to invite industry experts for presentations at EBAC meetings. Both ideas would have better-informed EBAC decisions in the near-future but were shot down. It is clear that the County controls EBAC and needs to be reformed. This will be an issue in upcoming MOU negotiations with the County.

Complete bargaining surveys provided by your Business Agent. Medical costs will be priority number one, but we need your official input. Reach out to your Business Agent to submit our first bargaining survey before the August 31st deadline. Thousands of SB County Teamsters have already sent theirs. Make sure your voice is heard today.

Teamsters Local 1932 is on watch — an organization staffing professionals, training leaders, and involving members every day to build power. In the face of relentless attacks against public employees, we will be there — united — to fight back. It’s the Teamster way.