Cupertino Scores Contract Campaign Victory

Local 21’s newest chapter, the Cupertino Employees’ Association (CEA), is quickly proving itself to be a rising star. Before joining Local 21, CEA’s previous contract had the lowest cost-of-living increases (COLA) amongst all of its neighboring South Bay cities and the some of the worst health coverage for families in the area.

After six months of negotiations, the Local 21/ CEA bargaining team won wage increases and big reductions to healthcare premium costs.

CEA members have engaged in escalating actions since June to fight for a fair contract.

Throughout the contract campaign, Local 21 CEA members showed their solidarity by wearing stickers, buttons, and turning out to City Council actions.  Members united with other city employyes who were represented by Operating Engineers Local 3. Members wore custom-made T-shirts with the logos of Local 21 and Operating Engineers Local 3 (OE3) emblazoned on the front, and “Local 21 and OE3 Stand Together in Cupertino” on the back. OE3 was bargaining with the City of Cupertino at the same time.

Local 21 and OE3 members wore their custom shirts on the Employee Appreciation Day that the City of Cupertino hosted. Members passed out fliers pointing out how hollow the Employee Appreciation Day rang when members were paying upwards of $2,000 a month in health premiums and the City was not willing to offer economic increases to offset the rising cost of living in the South Bay.

Since April, the Cupertino Bargaining Team has overcome an incredible number of obstacles as it fought for a fair contract.

CEA previously received the lowest COLA increases in the South Bay; now CEA is in first place, with a 9.25% increase over the next three years. CEA had some of the worst coverage in the South Bay for employee or family healthcare. The City initially proposed covering only 65% of family coverage costs, but members fought back hard. The new contract provides 100% coverage for the employee, and 90% coverage for employee plus one and for families. This was a 127% increase to employer contributions for family coverage.

The new contract also provides employer-paid short-term disability insurance, an increase in vacation accruals for members in certain tiers, an agency shop clause, and language that leads to negotiated comparators to make sure that Cupertino employees are not compensated below their counterparts.

In the two weeks before the team reached a settlement, the City showed no signs of budging on key areas like healthcare, wages, and employee rights. The Cupertino Bargaining team was given two “last, best, and final” proposals. There were moments when the Bargaining Team didn’t know when and how contract negotiations would be finalized.

But members didn’t cave. Instead, the Cupertino Bargaining Team organized two actions at City Council that contributed to a successful end to negotiations. CEA members were tirelessly persistent in their goal to win a great contract.

The members ratified the agreement September 26 with a unanimous yes vote!

We salute Bargaining Team members Jeff Greef, Gian Martire, Adam Araza, Alex Corbalis, and Jeff Ordway, who were joined by Local 21 staffers Stanley Young (Chief Negotiator) and Linda Emin (Researcher) for their hard work and advocacy.