Oakland Bargaining Bulletin #5

 

Bargaining Update


Local 21 has put all but the equity adjustments across the table to the City of Oakland. Our economic proposals reflect some our key priorities of:

1   A general wage increase that makes Oakland competitive with other public sector professionals in the Bay Area

2   No increases in our health care contributions

3   No increases in our pension contributions

4   Creating a work/home life balance and family friendly environment

5   Protection of union jobs

Based on the joint City/Local 21 compensation survey, Oakland professionals in Local 21 earn on average 9.7% less than other jurisdictions and our general wage increase sought to eliminate this gap.

The City’s response was an insult to Local 21 members:

•   Year 1: up to a 1% one time payment, no increase to base wages

•   Year 2: up to a 1% one time payment, no increase to base wages

This gets us no closer to closing our compensation gap and making Oakland an employer of choice. This one time money would not count towards pensions and it would not compound- Oakland workers would be making the same amount of money next year and the year after, getting further and further behind. The City has indicated that this is the full authority they have from the City Council on wages.

The City has stated that if we can find money in the budget to pay for wages, they are willing to work with us to get that money to our union members. One potential source of funding for wages our Local 21 has identified is a $300K RFP slated to go to an advertising firm to promote HR jobs in Oakland. Keep in mind, this $300K is not to increase wages to recruit and retain employees (which is difficult because of the low wages), but go to an outside firm to create and “facilitate effective outreach in recruiting.” This is an outrageous allocation of City resources and reflects a tone deafness or willful ignorance of the true underlying recruitment problem: below market wages.

We need members to join us for the final City Council meeting Tuesday, July 18th and let the City Council know that we will not accept a contract that does not work to close the gap in our wage disparities with other jurisdictions.

A big priority in our goal of creating a work/home life balance is our proposal for paid family leave. The City has not responded to this proposal yet but we will press them on this item. We are still working to move the City to implement an Alternative Work Schedule (AWS) that allows members to work a shortened work week, which allow more time for family and personal pursuits, saves commute time and money, eliminates child or elder care expenses for the extra day off, and can have a huge positive impact on the lives of our members.

One Tentative Agreement that we do have that will improve work/life balance is our new training committee language. Under the agreement, we will create a working training committee that will allow our members to have input and direction on City trainings so we can better identify our needs and address them. There is an old saying that if you are not at the table, you are on the menu! Under our new contract, we will be at the table and our expertise and institutional knowledge will be utilized to benefit Local 21 members.

Lastly, on our priority of protecting union jobs, the City is proposing to eliminate their obligation to notify our union about selective certifications, which we are fighting. When a member is selectively certified, they are protected from layoffs because of the special status. If the union were to waive this notification and impact bargaining, unscrupulous City leaders could play favorites and protect friends instead of adhering to seniority rules. Bargaining team members have rejected this proposal. On a more positive note, we have a proposal on the table to create a contracting-in committee that would allow the City and union to meet regularly to review new RFPs for service and determine if we can in-source the work to Local 21 members.

 

Compensation Study


As discussed at multiple chapter meetings, in our Oakland Bulletins, and elsewhere, the City of Oakland commissioned outside consultants Koff and Associates to complete a compensation survey to compare 20 classifications within the City of Oakland to neighboring jurisdictions.

For our analysis to be meaningful and to be able to have the greatest access to comparable data, the City’s recommendations focus on classifications with the most breadth in our classification plan. In considering a classification to recommend for analysis, the City considered the following factors:

  •   Citywide classifications, general classifications, classifications that are part of an extensive series
  •    Journey-level classifications, i.e. positions which require the employee to be fully trained to perform a broad range of tasks within the scope of the class usually under general supervision.
  •   Classifications that represent the broadest group of classifications as possible – excludes single-incumbent, unique or highly specialized positions

Therefore, if your job classification was NOT selected for this study, do not worry, the information gathered was to be used broadly by both the City and our union as a way to extrapolate if the City of Oakland employees were behind other Bay Area public employee professionals in both wages and benefits.

Overall, the data from this comp survey confirms what Local 21 members have long known: we are underpaid relative to other jurisdictions in both wages and benefits.

On wages; the starting wages overall were an average of 9.7% below average of the Bay Area jurisdictions surveyed (under market by a median of 8.7%) for starting salaries.

Even maxing out on a salary schedule still saw members in Oakland far behind their counterparts in the Bay Area, with a 9.3% below average maximum monthly salary overall (7.4% median below average maximum salaries).

When we look at the benefits, both cash and non-cash compensation was studied.

               CASH

a.      Salary minimum and maximum;
b.      Employer paid member contribution (EPMC) to retirement;
c.      Employer paid deferred compensation contribution;
d.      Automobile/mileage allowances
e.      Employer contributions to a voluntary employees' beneficiary association (VEBA)
f.       Educational incentives;
g.      Uniform allowance;
h.      Any and all paid leave allowances, e.g. vacation, sick, administrative leave, etc.

               NON-CASH

a.       Medical, dental, vision premium paid by employer;
b.      Employer’s contribution to retirement;
c.       Employer paid insurance premiums – short and long term disability, life insurance, death benefit;
d.      Any other benefits determined to be commonly offered.

In this category, Oakland still fell behind our neighboring jurisdictions, on average employees are 6.9% below market in benefits.

During membership meetings in July, Local 21 passed out information that was shared with City Councilmembers in Oakland. The dramatic chart shows that an employee making $65,000 in 2006 would currently be making $75,325 when adjusted for wage increases and furloughs taken. When that same $65,000 salary is compared to Oakland CPI, the employee should be making $82,697.

Therefore, in light of the comp survey, commissioned by the City of Oakland itself, and the CPI vs. COLA data compiled by Local 21 researchers, our Bargaining Team has put forth an economic package that not only reflects the need for increases to match CPI, but provides additional funding that will bring us up to par with the salaries of other public employee professionals in the Bay Area.  It may be a big ask for the City of Oakland, but our members have given back during the hard times to ensure that the City stayed afloat, and we want the City to remember our sacrifices Today. We want the City to reward our members for their service to the City Tomorrow. And we want the City to know that we want to move forward to a strong family friendly City Together.