Our History

Local 21 is an innovative, growing union of over 11,000 professional, supervisory, and managerial government employees in major jurisdictions throughout the Bay Area. What is now Local 21 had been numbered Locals 39, 11, and 17 at various times.

Though officially chartered as Local 21 in April 1977, our union has represented technical professionals employed by local government since the early 1900s. Our members were civil engineers, draftspersons, architects, building inspectors, and others. We had members at the San Francisco Department of Public Works and Hunters Point Shipyard.

In the 1930s and 40s, chemists and other laboratory staff at Cutter Labs in Berkeley and at Shell Development were associated with our union after organizing the CIO Federation of Architects, Engineers, Chemists & Technicians (FAECT).

A series of municipal employee strikes in San Francisco in the 1970s along with new collective bargaining legislation spurred the addition of chemists; accountants; auditors; municipal planners; data processors; and a variety of professional, administrative, technical and mid-management groups.

Our union continued to grow. In Hayward, we won representation rights for the City’s professional and technical employees, including engineers, building inspectors, librarians, chemists, planners and others. We expanded to the Golden Gate Bridge District, Contra Costa Water District, East Bay Municipal Utility District, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), the cities of San Leandro, San Jose, and Richmond, and Santa Clara County.

In the last 15 years, thousands of new members have joined our union, including nearly 1,000 Oakland city professional and administrative employees, as well as hundreds of Port of Oakland, Contra Costa County, and Santa Clara Valley Water District employees, anchoring our union solidly across all sides of the Bay.