Monday, May 25, 2009

SEIU 1021 Foot Targeting, Round Three

It appears that the City and County of San Francisco has come to another tentative agreement with SEIU 1021 which is going to be subject to a ratification election - again. Unfortunately, they are not going to be able to avoid the initial round of layoffs because of the prior rejection of the TA by 1021 rank-and-file.

KPIX/5 has raw video of the announcement by the 1021 "leaders" and bargaining committee members, and you can see/hear their illiterate mumblings here. Word of advice to 1021 bargaining committee members - if you are going to be speaking in public, rehearse.

Not everyone, though, was entirely thrilled with the prospect of another shot at approving these concessions...

A couple dozen members of Service Employees International Local 1021 who work at the Hall of Justice called a news conference Thursday afternoon to explain their side of the ongoing saga over whether the union will agree to contract concessions.

The union rejected the contract changes that would have saved the city $38 million, prompting the mayor to announce pending layoffs of 1,000 workers. But reporters weren't the only ones who showed up to hear the members' explanations. So did Gilda Valdez, chief of staff for SEIU 1021. Union members are clearly peeved at their leaders for not adequately explaining the concessions the group voted down last week - and for not communicating about the idea of a revote next week either.

"We pay your salary!" one member told Valdez. "We already said no! Why should there be a revote?" called out another. After a heated back-and-forth, Valdez apologized to the group and promised to send a union leader to the Hall of Justice to explain any new concessions. Monica Wheaton, an SEIU member who works in the victims' services division at the district attorney's office, said members are angry that they're being vilified by the mayor for turning down the agreement when other unions aren't agreeing to givebacks either.

"We just want it to be fair, and we don't want to have to give up more than other unions," she said. Valdez said the 49-member bargaining unit is still trying to hammer out an agreement with the mayor's office to bring to the 11,000 SEIU members as soon as today.

Regrettably for the 1021 membership, what is done is already done, and the city budget has had to go forward - without the concessions desired by 1021 leadership, and therefore layoffs have already begun...

Mayor Gavin Newsom and Service Employees International Union Local 1021 have hammered out a third round of contract concessions, but Newsom's budget went to the printer's at midnight last night and doesn't include any of it.

Here's the backstory: Newsom and SEIU agreed to one round of concessions, which the union leadership decided not to bring to members for a vote. Then, they figured out another package which would save the city $38 million, and the 11,000 members voted it down.

Now, they've reached a third agreement which the leadership will educate members about in the coming week and bring for a vote in the first week of June. But Newsom's budget is already done and being printed to deliver to the Board of Supervisors June 1. (No, we couldn't get his office to spill the beans on what it includes.)

That means 288 city workers are receiving pink slips today as planned, and those are unlikely to be rescinded. The rest of the 1,000 pink slips Newsom promised will go out over the coming weeks as scheduled, but will likely be rescinded if the union members agree to the concessions.

The agreement includes 10 unpaid holidays and five floating holidays over the course of the contract, extending the contract for a year to June 30, 2011, and no new layoffs between ratification and Nov. 15. Also, the mayor's office has committed to trying to get revenue measures (that means tax hikes) on the November ballot. The total savings of the concessions are $31 million.

"We're submitting a budget that does not take into account this tentative agreement," said Nathan Ballard, Newsom's press secretary. "We've entered into two tentative agreements with SEIU so far this season. We're hoping the third try's a charm."

Larry Bevan, who works with mentally ill patients at Laguna Honda Hospital and is part of the SEIU bargaining team, said he thinks this package has a better chance of passing because members understand the consequences.

"There's a huge difference when you're talking about hypotheticals and being faced with the true realities of our economic times," he said. "It's one thing to say we're looking at 1,000 pink slips. It's another thing when 1,000 pink slips are in someone's hands."

Fair enough. It's nice to see the writing on the wall, but don't complain about that writing on the wall when you gave the author the spray can with which to write it. The SEIU 1021 leadership all believed that just seeing something with the SEIU logo on the top would make the membership accept it at face value, but evidently did not feel the need to do any selling of their concession package.

Well, the "sales pitch" for the new vote can be seen in the video report above - I have a suspicion that this upcoming second try will be much closer than many folks in 1021 and the City and County of San Francisco would wish it to be.

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