Updates from the ground:
IFPTE Local 21 

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Local 21 EXPRESS

April 2015

Local 21 Steps Up to Support Low Wage Workers on April 15
Scores of union and non-union workers in the San Francisco Bay Area joined tens of thousands across the nation as they mobilized on April 15 to demand a $15 minimum wage in the "largest protest by low-wage workers in US history” according to the Guardian.  Local 21 was there as members showed up in force in Berkeley, Oakland and across the Bay to show solidarity for low-wage workers in #Fightfor15.

Actions were planned throughout the Bay Area all day. At 3 pm, workers and supporters gathered on Sproul Hall at UC Berkeley, where Ruth Atkin, Mayor of Emeryville and L21 member in Contra Costa County, addressed the crowd about Emeryville’s rising minimum wage while wearing her local 21 T-shirt. Non-profit organization East Bay Alliance for a Sustainable Economy was there, signing Local 21 members in.   Additional events were held in San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland.
About 12 members from Oakland’s bargaining committee joined hundreds of Service Employees International Union and National Nurses United as they gathered in front of McDonalds on Telegraph and 45th in Oakland. Horns honking in passing cars showed broad support. Urged by union workers by chants of El pueblo unido... and We got your back!  some line workers made an impromptu decision to walk off the job,  forcing a few would-be customers to either wait for their burgers or to choose the healthier - and free options - that were being offered to the hundreds of workers gathered at the parking lot that day.

L21 members in Oakland's bargaining unit stand with Robert Reich in the McDonald's parking lot on Telegraph and 45th during the Oakland day of action to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour. 

Al Lujano of Oakland’s Administrative and Professionals (A&W) chapter spoke about the need for Local 21 to "step up" and support non-union workers fighting for a living wage in the midst of the rising cost of living in the Bay Area and the stress on the middle class.

“The divide between the have-nots and the have-everythings needs to narrow,” he said. “It’s a shame that people who work in this industry have to apply for food stamps or aid because they can’t make a living.” Standing in front of the McDonald’s entrance with other members, Lujano recalled what it was like when used to work for the fast food chain himself when he was sixteen.

“I used to come home smelling like I had been fried. And then getting my paycheck, with a third of it going to taxes, and there was nothing. It was degrading,” Lujano said.

Al Lujano of Oakland Administrative and Professionals remembers working at McDonald's and reflected on the importance of unionization and a living wage for all workers.

The active Local 21 member went on to say that his past experience as a low-wage worker makes him appreciate the benefits of being in a union now, while underscoring the importance of unions like Local 21 to show solidarity with workers less fortunate.

"I think just being present here sends a strong message to folks who aren’t unionized that we support them,” he said. “Unions are strong for everyone, not just for ourselves.”

Christia Katz Mulvey, Sergeant in Arms for the A&W Chapter, stressed the need for Local 21 members to expand their horizons and see the bigger picture. ”We tend to be good little bureaucrats that get into our rut,” she said. “We need to get more active in promoting the rights of other folks as well."

Unions Hold April 1 Rally to Kick Off Negotiations in Contra Costa County 

IFPTE Local 21 members had a strong showing of unity in Contra Costa County, as they joined members of AFSCME 2700, AFSCME 512, SEIU 1021, and the Western Council of Engineers by rallying in front of the County Administration Building in large numbers for the first of many actions meant to support the coalition bargaining team in its goal to negotiate quality, affordable health care as part of the contract reopener beginning April 1, 2015. 

Over 200 members from the various coalition unions came out to 651 Pine Street to support our bargaining team on its first day of negotiations with the County.   For the first time -- and not for the last -- in over a year, County workers stood side-by-side chanting messages in support of unity and affordable health care for our families. 

The rally concluded with members of the bargaining team and Margaret Hanlon-Grady, of the Central Labor Council, delivering inspiring speeches before the bargaining team met with the County’s Chief Negotiator for the very first time.  The focus of the meeting centered on establishing ground rules for negotiations and setting at least ten future dates for bargaining.
The next coalition bargaining session is scheduled for the afternoon of Wednesday, April 29.  The bargaining team is calling for a follow-up action that same day, with the goal of sustaining and building upon our early momentum.  Details for this action will be announced shortly. 



San Jose's Measure B Settlement Talks Move in Right Direction 
Years of acrimonious labor relations and expensive litigation around Measure B's pension reform may finally be coming to an end. Last week, the San Jose officials and various City Unions began settlement talks to resolve the Measure B dispute and replace it with a new, more competitive pension benefit for Tier 2 employees. The tenor, tone and substance of the discussions represented a sea change in attitude from what we have experienced in recent years, and we are cautiously optimistic that a settlement can be reached.

During the first meeting between the City and Federated Unions, we quickly reached agreement on the framework and ground rules for these litigation settlement discussions and we discussed ways to improve the Tier 2 pension benefit. While many challenges and hurdles remain, Mayor Sam Liccardo and the new Council clearly want a new direction away from the bitterness and division of the Chuck Reed years.

Moreover, the interim City Manager and other City officials have demonstrated an inclination to engage City unions in good faith discussions to find mutual solutions to the issues facing the City.

By working together, we can overcome the antagonism of recent years and restore City services to levels of which we can all be proud. Critical to this endeavor will be the stabilization of the City workforce and ensuring the City of San Jose can attract the talented and committed staff it needs to deliver those services.
Orozco Leads Field Heading into San Jose City Council Special Election Run-off 

Local 21-endorsed Tim Orozco is headed to a June 23 run-off to fill the North San Jose seat on the City Council.  While the registrar of voters finishes counting a handful of vote-by-mail ballots, Tim is first place by 300 votes among the field of 10 candidates.  It appears he will face runner-up Manh Nguyen.  Tim is a strong progressive with decades of experience navigating government and representing voters. 

Thank you to Local 21 Members who volunteered on Tim’s behalf at the South Bay Labor Council, and others who volunteered directly with Tim’s campaign.  The kick-off rally for round two is May 2!

Local 21 Members Tapped by Governor Brown for Judgeships

Governor Jerry Brown recently appointed two Local 21 members to judgeships in Alameda County.

Former Local 21 Alameda County Public Defender’s chapter member James Cramer was been appointed to Alameda County Superior Court to fill a vacancy created by a recent retirement. Jim worked in the Public Defender’s office for eleven years. Prior to that, he was an attorney for the Alameda County District Attorney's Office and also worked in private practice.  During his tenure at the Public Defenders Officer, he served on the Union’s Steering Committee for seven years as well as the Union’s negotiations committee. He received a bachelor's degree from Santa Clara University and a law degree from Santa Clara University School of Law. Jim was sworn into office on March 30.

Gov. Brown also  appointed Andrew Steckler to the Alameda County Superior Court bench. Steckler, 49, of Berkeley, has spent most of his career in the Alameda County Public Defender's Office. He came on board as an associate deputy public defender in 1994 and was eventually promoted to assistant public defender in 2006. Steckler graduated from Harvard Law School and received his Bachelor of Arts from Williams College.

Members in Action: Mark Henderson

Local 21 is a proud partner with Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson in declaring 2015 the Year of the African American Male. The following is a profile of one of our members who makes a difference in the lives of young African American men.  

City of Oakland Human Services Department staffer and Local 21 member Mark Henderson works at Oakland Unite where he coordinates a multiagency consortium that provides assistance to those coming out of the juvenile justice system.

He has worked with young people for 20 years, first providing direct services to youth and now monitoring contracts and facilitating case management groups. More than two thirds of those receiving services from the consortium are African American and the majority are young men. 
Mark sees himself as a youth advocate — helping youth reach their full potential and overcome barriers along the way. He believes in helping youth and young adults see their own potential and change the course of their lives to become productive citizens.   Mark finds that the multiagency approach to services works best because they meet the youth where they are. The case managers involved often had problems in the past but turned their lives around, making them positive role models for the young people they work with. They help the youth think critically, and provide resources including academic tutoring, employment opportunities, a listening ear, and someone to help them navigate life’s challenges.  

One of Mark’s primary responsibilities at Oakland Unite is to facilitate the case conference group. Various stakeholders — from the Juvenile Justice Center to the Oakland School District, and others — come together to share information and provide wraparound services to young people coming out of the juvenile justice system.   In facilitating the case conference conversations, he helps to equip the case managers with the information they need to provide the most appropriate services. He also monitors the contracts with partner agencies to make sure they are meeting the benchmarks including helping clients transition back into a healthy school environment and meet the terms of their probation successfully. 
The Juvenile Justice Center Wraparound Strategy is a project led by the City of Oakland in conjunction with the Alameda County Probation Department, Oakland School District and Alameda County Mental Health. This program targets the top one quarter of high-risk teenagers to receive services from 7 non-profit service organizations. Of the 900 youth coming out of the system, Mark’s program serves 355. A recent evaluation revealed that 80% of the program participants do not recidivate. Clearly the mark of a successful approach.

Mark also oversees contracts for restorative justice and youth employment projects. When he’s not helping Oakland at work, he’s helping the community in other ways — serving as the Chairperson of the Community Jobs Oversight Commission for the development of the Oakland Army Base. Mark is always interested in finding new ways to serve the community’s young people. You can find out more about Oakland Unite programming by checking out their website .

We are proud to have members like Mark Henderson who are making a difference in the lives of African American men.  If you are working for a program that predominantly helps African American men, tell us your story at

2014 Rundown: Pro-Labor Legislative Report Card 

A few important legislators stood out last year as real friends of labor. The California Labor Federation’s Labor Legislative Scorecard rated Senators Ellen Corbett (D-Hayward), Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa), Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), and Bill Monning (D-Carmel) 100% for their pro-labor committee and floor voting records in 2014. 

The State Assembly showed itself to be more progressive, boasting a 100% rating for roughly 43% of its representatives in terms of labor legislation. Important bills passed in the Senate for workers were Sen. Monning’s SB 193, protecting workers from workplace chemicals; SB 862 to fund high-speed rail from cap-and-trade revenue, and Sen. Leno’s SB 935 to step-increase the minimum wage from $11 to $13 an hour by 2017, as well as his measure SB 1182 to improve healthcare transparency.
Delegate Assembly
We have another very exciting lineup planned for the upcoming Delegate Assembly! Some extraordinary speakers have confirmed and we are still finalizing additional guests.

Our Assembly keynote will be given by one of labor’s most dynamic leaders, María Elena Durazo, Vice President for Immigration, Civil Rights and Diversity with UNITE HERE. Durazo began her involvement in the labor movement with the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (which became UNITE HERE).  Durazo went on to become President of UNITE HERE, Local 11.  In 2006, she was elected as the Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. 

We will be also building on the work that we accomplished at the previous assemblies. Jim Potterton will be returning to discuss the next steps we will be taking to move Local 21 forward. This will draw from the breakouts that we had at the last assembly where we discussed how to Activate the Next Generation. We will be welcoming a couple of community organizations who will also play a role in our program.
In addition, the Local 21 budget for our next fiscal year needs to be discussed and approved. We will be sending out a report in the coming weeks.

The Delegate Assembly will take place on Saturday, May 16 at Hotel Whitcomb in San Francisco (1231 Market Street). There will be a continental breakfast available at 8:30 a.m. and the assembly will begin at 9:00 a.m. The conference will adjourn mid-day. 

If you are planning to attend please RSVP at The deadline to RSVP is Friday, May 8. If you are a delegate or plan to be an acting delegate for the Delegate Assembly, you must RSVP by that date.

IU Convention Results

The 58th Convention of the International Federation of Professional & Technical Engineers is scheduled for July 27-30, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Local 21 has elected the following twenty delegates to represent the local at the convention. We will advise you of additional details about the program as they become available. 

San Francisco
Carmen Herrera, At-Large
David Herring, VP for Membership & Org
Dean Coate, Local 21 President
Eileen Housteau, Secretary
Gus Vallejo, San Francisco VP
Jo Elias Jackson, IT Professionals
Larry Griffin, At-Large VP
Marshia Herring, Health Care Professionals
Mikhael Hart, Treasurer
Mike Hawkins, At-Large
Tedman Lee, Professional Engineers
East Bay
Cheryl Penick, Hayward
Margie Valdez, CCC
Monish Sen, CCC
Scott Hutchinson, CCC
Sue Guest, East Bay VP
Renee Sykes, Oakland VP
Tom Manley, VP for Legislative & Political Action
Harry Battiste, Oakland H&M
South Bay
Ananth Prasad, South Bay VP
John Mukhar, Executive Vice President

Other Upcoming Events
NorCal Young Workers Meeting
April 19
10:00 am – 12 p.m.
1333 Pine Street, Martinez, CA 94553

This is the first meet-up of the NorCal Young Workers group as created during the NextUp conference. If you can, we’ll be doing precinct walks for Susan Bonilla afterwards and we need as much help as possible getting her elected!
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