San Jose Members “Camp Out,” Bring City to the Bargaining Table

At 3am on Monday, June 6, Local 21 members set up an RV and “camped out” outside of San Jose City Hall to call on elected officials to negotiate with City workers about changes to retirement benefits. They carried a banner with the message, “Tell the Truth! Negotiate Now!”

Several months ago, Local 21 and several other unions settled contracts with the City. The unions agreed to 10% cuts to wages and benefits, and the City agreed to negotiate with the unions about retirement benefit reform. After months of unsuccessful attempts to get bargaining dates with the City, union bargaining team members went to the table last Friday expecting to negotiate with the City on pension changes.

Instead, the City presented Mayor Reed’s proposed ballot measure and said they only planned to meet and confer with the unions before moving forward with their plan for a ballot measure that would dramatically cut workers’ retirement benefits.

Faced with mounting public pressure to take negotiations seriously, the City Council voted 9 to 2 to change direction and bargain over pension changes. While the City has not yet committed to dropping Mayor Reed’s proposed ballot measure, the City Council’s action is a sign that momentum in San Jose is shifting.


See the Mercury News’ Editorial calling on City Council to change direction and rebuild public trust. (

See KTVU’s coverage of the event here. (