Our Mission

We are engineers, architects, planners, accountants, auditors, computer programmers, chemists, building, housing and fire inspectors and advisors, health professionals, managerial and administrative employees and other related public sector professionals. With our skills, leadership and creativity we work hard to make a vital contribution to the smooth planning and implementation of local government services, often orchestrating large-scale bond programs for infrastructure and maintenance, ensuring well-run transit systems, and monitoring quality control over the public water supply.

We are experts in our work and try to bring these talents and knowledge to building our union and the collective bargaining process.  We appreciate a well run union that is structured intelligently to maximize the level of member participation and democracy.   Our union and collective bargaining strengthen our defense against having to compromise our professional judgment and ethical codes for engineering, scientific, and other professional work.  Our union contracts prevent politicians from giving away our work - projects we are fully qualified for and entitled to perform.

Our interests are the public's interest – The public has a stake in well-run government that employs the most talented and dedicated staff we can attract.

Hard work, diligence, and self-reliance are not enough to ensure orderly career advancement. Publicly employed professionals are frequently subjected to the vagaries of political whims and outside interest groups.

As professionals working within the public personnel systems, we are a union dedicated to ensuring that our skills and integrity are respected.  Through our union we are able to utilize sophisticated strategies and guarantee that we receive recognition for high level performance.

No matter who carries out the work, we are still responsible for the results and must account for all problems which arise. IFPTE Local 21 understands the pressures brought to bear on employed professionals.

 

History

Local 21 is an innovative, growing union of over 10,000 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 processers; 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.