San Francisco Redevelopment Agency Members Ratify Nine Month Contract Extension

On June 21, Local 21 members at the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency (SFRA) ratified a nine month contract extension. The contract included three additional furlough days, an agreement by the Agency to contract with Mercer, Inc. to complete a salary and compensation parity study, and an additional 60-days advance notice for layoffs.

With the state threatening to completely eliminate the Agency, securing a contract extension for Local 21 members at SFRA has been a top priority. The current MOAs expire on June 30th and under the proposed state legislation, only existing labor agreements must be honored by successor agencies if redevelopment is eliminated. The negotiating team hoped for a quick resolution, asking for a one year contract extension that continued the terms and conditions of the current MOAs to give some protection to members.

However, the Agency tried to take advantage of the state budget crisis to extract a long list of concessions from members in exchange for a contract extension. Even though the SFRA is a separate entity from the City and County of San Francisco (CCSF), management wanted concession “parity” with CCSF. The attempt to take advantage of the crisis to extract concessions was not popular with SFRA members and the negotiating team. Parity had been discussed in previous negotiations and the existing contract required the agency to contract with Mercer to complete a 2009 salary and compensation study that was to be used to inform the parity discussions. The Agency never completed the contract with Mercer, but was now asking for concessions based on nonexistent parity with CCSF. With the budget process stalled in Sacramento, a quick resolution seemed very unlikely.

Then, on June 14th, the legislation started to move in Sacramento. State Democrats introduced a new budget that included the elimination of redevelopment. The budget passed the Senate and Assembly the next day while negotiations were taking place, and the Agency offered a one month contract extension. The negotiating team recognized that a month was not long enough to give any real security in the face of the possible elimination and countered with a 9 month extension and language that would force the Agency to complete the Mercer study before the next round of negotiations would resume. The Agency said they could not respond to our proposal without going to their principles. But the Local 21 negotiating team stood their ground. They refused to negotiate against themselves and chose to end the negotiations until the Agency would give a response. As Local 21 team members were leaving the building, the Agency team called them back to the table and offered a nine month contract extension.