First Day of Bargaining: Bargaining Team Tells the City that We Need Respect

 

Opening day of bargaining was January 17, and the Local 21 Bargaining Team was ready to go with a presentation on central priorities, and a clear message about respect. The Team set the stage by calling on the City to take responsibility; “The City is the largest employer in San Francisco, and San Francisco has the largest income inequality gap in the country, and it’s growing. The middle class in this city is shrinking, and city workers form the backbone of the middle class. What we do at this table has ramifications beyond ourselves; at its heart, these negotiations are about what kind of city San Francisco is going to be. We ask that the proposals we bring forth here are given the consideration and respect that they are due.”

 

Economics played a key role in the Team’s messaging. Chief Negotiator Ken Page said, “Local 21’s view of respect includes an honest and transparent discussion of wages and broader economics. This idea that City workers must be the first to sacrifice during difficult economic times and the last to realize gains beyond the cost of living where the regional economy is strong must cease during this round of negotiations. We are told again and again that the economy is in poor shape and we need to give back, or that the economy is good but we have to prepare for a downturn, or that having benefits that will support healthy families and a retirement with dignity is something we should apologize for.  We ask with one voice: when will our time come?”

 

The Team laid out top priorities for bargaining in the opening session. Those include:

 

 

   Fair wage increases

Local 21 research has shown that members are 6.54% behind the cost of living. And that doesn’t even reflect the housing challenges that members and their families are facing. It’s time for the City to invest in its workforce again.

 

   Maintaining our current health and retirement benefits

We will not allow our access to healthcare or our right to retire with dignity to be eroded.

 

   Job protections and a pathway to permanence for Exempt workers

The growing use of temporary positions for permanent work must end. Temporary workers deserve the same rights and protections as their co-workers. All workers should feel like they can speak up in their workplace.

 

  Insource bargaining unit work instead of contracting our work out

The outsourcing of our work has to stop. The City spent $3.583 billion in FY 2017-18

(34.6% of the total San Francisco budget), up from 11.1% in FY 2012-13.

 

   A user friendly and better funded EDF

The EDF fund is necessary to attract and retain a skilled, long-term workforce. The current EDF process needs to be improved so that it is more accessible and transparent.

 

  Equitable treatment for all employees in the workplace

1 in 5 Local 21 members have reported experiencing discrimination or harassment in the workplace. Additionally, we must sincerely examine the lack of opportunities for advancement for women and people of color.

 

  A more accountable, affordable, and accessible San Francisco for all

As Local 21 members, our jobs and our passions converge to one common goal: serving the residents of the City and County of San Francisco. As dedicated public servants we think it is important to take the opportunity afforded to us during collective bargaining to incorporate demands which represent the needs of the communities we serve. Our needs and wants as union members go hand-in-hand with the needs and wants of San Franciscans.

 

 

 

Bargaining Team members Frances Hsieh, Moses Corrette, Kim Thompson, Deanna Chan, Danny Yeung, Local 21 president Gus Vallejo and San Francisco Vice President Rinaldi Wibowo presented union priorities to the City as part of the opening statements. Detailed proposals on these key areas will be introduced at the bargaining table in the coming weeks, as well as other proposals selected by the Bargaining Team from those submitted by chapters.

 

The City’s opening statements were short, with the City hinting they would have demands for Local 21 members without offering any specifics.  At the same time, the City insisted on issuing rigid mandates on when and how our Team could caucus about bargaining. The City’s hired outside lawyer and Chief Spokesperson Dania Torres Wong refused the Local 21 Bargaining Team’s morning caucus time by insisting that the City would not provide Bargaining Team members release time (time off work for bargaining). This preoccupation with control seemed to miss the theme of respect which was a consistent thread throughout the Bargaining Team’s opening comments.

 

The next bargaining session will be January 31 and will include Local 21’s economic presentation on the booming state of the economy in San Francisco.

 

You can show your support for Local 21 Bargaining by wearing BLUE on Thursdays.

 

Stay tuned for more details!

 

(Bargaining Team and CAT are ready to go! )