Just six months ago, Local 21 was in the process of bargaining for more than 70% of our members from various jurisdictions at one time. And although the wage settlement numbers (4% in CCC; San Jose and San Francisco in the 3’s) indicate that we’re doing better on the economic front, it’s not getting easier for unions.
And with Supreme Court decision Harris V Quinn in late June—which struck a blow, though not a serious one—to the movement—it’s clear that we need to continue to rise to the challenge and the pressures that we face in today’s political environment.
It’s been a good bargaining season for Local 21, and San Francisco and San Jose are two examples.
Following weeks of negotiations and five days of formal arbitration in April and early May, a compromise agreement was reached with CCSF. The salary increase package calls for three raises over the next three years that will total from 8.25% to 9.25%, with the exact amount within the range to be determined by the consumer price index in the third year.
This will begin to make up for several years where city employees fell behind and experienced a decline in their standard of living and purchasing power.
After years of concessions, our three San Jose chapters accepted a one-year MOU with a 3% wage hike. The three chapters—AEA, AMSP and CAMP— decided against full MOU bargaining and agreed to a rollover of existing MOU and side letters. The 3% is a decent starting point to begin restoring lost wages, but inflation and increases to retiree healthcare contributions will lessen the impact for our members. We also successfully added a side letter that calls for a compensation study, allowing us to address high vacancies and seriously below-market pay for a small group of classifications. We hope to be in a better position for next spring’s bargaining after November’s San Jose Mayor and City Council election.
Local 21 members stepped up like never before in the June primaries—more than 125 members volunteered 500 hours. We elected our first City Councilmember in Hayward—quite a victory! With two seats up for grabs, labor-backed Sara Lamnin ran less than 100 votes behind incumbent anti-labor Councilman Marv Peixoto. Our second candidate, Rocky Fernandez came in third, running about 500 votes shy of getting elected.
We’re very proud of our Hayward membership; half of them volunteered, and members from SF and Oakland phone banked and walked door to door. The Hayward Chapter leadership each recruited between 2-11 volunteers and some of them volunteered as many as 14 times. We made more than 25,000 phone calls and knocked on 7,000 doors. While we identified 5,000 supporters, many were infrequent labor voters who posed a special challenge to turn out.
This article is part of the Summer edition of the Local 21 Quarterly Magazine. Click here to download the complete magazine.