Local 21 EXPRESS


Invitation to October Delegate Assembly
Solano County Health Proposal
L21 Members Attend APALA
Oakland Update
John Mukhar
Silicon Valley Rising
The Changing Digital Face of Labor Unions
L21 Members Are Disaster Service Workers
Upcoming Events

August 21, 2015


Invitation to October Delegate Assembly

You are cordially invited to attend Local 21’s next Delegate Assembly!

This very important assembly will take place on Saturday, October 17 at the Marriott Hotel in Oakland. The goal of this session will be to build upon work begun in previous Delegate Assemblies that aims to increase our overall membership and member participation in the union. You will have the opportunity to collaborate with other members from all over the union in a discussion of these critical topics and to develop practical, viable action plans.

There will be a continental breakfast beginning at 8:30 a.m. The assembly will begin promptly at 9:00 a.m. and a lunch will be served in the afternoon. We will adjourn mid-day.

If you are planning to attend, please RSVP by following this link and responding to the questions. The deadline to RSVP is Friday, October 9. If you are a delegate or will be an acting delegate for this Delegate Assembly, we must receive your RSVP by that date.

Attached to this email is the delegate travel reimbursement form. Please hold onto this form! We will collect them and issue reimbursements at the assembly only. Several other files for the assembly are included as well. Please take some time to review them prior to the event.

We will follow up with you with additional information as we get closer to the date of the Assembly.

Thank you, and we look forward to welcoming you in Oakland on October 17!
RSVP Online


Solano County Health Proposal

Negotiations in Solano County are moving forward. 

A recent deadline for proposals resulted in both sides introducing all issues by Friday, August 7. The Local 21 bargaining team introduced 15 proposals dealing with various matters of compensation, benefits, and working conditions. The County is in a strong economic and budgetary position after a steady recovery from the Great Recession. 

However, the County is seeking two significant takeaways. The first seeks to do away with the employer's requirement to provide a reason for dismissal. Considering the membership's at-will status, doing so would effectively negate a key victory from the first contract campaign: a much valued disciplinary appeals process.

The second takeaway seeks to move away from a percentage contribution by the employer toward employees’ health care. The proposal calls instead for a flat dollar contribution, in addition to language making any increase in costs associated with the Affordable Care Act's "Cadillac Tax" in 2018 the employee's responsibility. When asked for a rationale, the County cited "trends" in the Bay Area. 

This second takeaway would fundamentally change the way that health care benefits are paid for in Solano County. Based on Local 21’s experience in Contra Costa County, we also know that it would result in higher health care costs for employees. The Bargaining Team and membership are united in their opposition to health care concessions at a time when it is not only unnecessary, but bad policy, as it would eventually result in recruitment and retention concerns. 

The County introduced its first package proposal during the most recent bargaining session, which took place on August 14. A number of key Union proposals have not been ruled out, the County citing "ongoing evaluation and analysis." However, the insistence on takeaways remains a key concern, and the County's opening wage proposal - 1% each year for two years - means that we still have a way to go. 

Solano County’s next bargaining session will be held on Friday, August 28.

Like Local 21 Express: August 21, 2015 on Facebook



L21 Members Spotlight On-Demand Economy at 13th Asian Pacific American Union Convention

This past week, the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) held its 13th Bi-Annual Convention in San Diego.  

APALA is the first and only national organization of Asian Pacific American (APA) union members. Founded in 1992, APALA strives to build a bridge between all APA union members throughout the country and to the broader labor movement. There are over 660,000 APA union members across the United States. 

In the Bay Area, APA make up a significant number of IFPTE Local 21 membership.

IFPTE President, Greg Junemann, spoke at the convention concerning the future of the labor movement.  L21 also sent delegate staff and member representatives.  One L21 member, Nancy Au-Yeung, an engineer at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, participated at the convention.

“It was fun to meet fellow members and union reps to learn about what they do and what we are a part of, how we fit in, the benefits of being organized and the strength of a union. It was great to see other people being so passionate about the labor movement, arguing for workers’ benefits, and fighting against corporate greed,” Nancy said.

FROM TOP LEFT CLOCKWISE: John Chang, CA State Treasurer speaking at the podium; L21 staff Amihan Makayan (left) with Greg Junemann, IFPTE President (middle) and rep from Local 20, our sister local (right); rally with L21; L21 Staff Paul Kim (left) with Nancy Au-Yeung, Local 21 Professional Engineer member (right).  

Nancy recalled one hot topic at the convention: the on-demand economy. “I learned about many arguments against businesses like Airbnb, Uber, and Lyft, who are bypassing background checks, insurance, proper licensing, city taxes, etc. that traditional hotels and taxi companies are all bound by,” Nancy said.  “This decreases public safety and hurts cities’ economies. We heard from taxi drivers and neighbors of Airbnb homes who are negatively impacted by these new businesses.”
While APALA supports small homeowners renting out a room to help pay the bills, this type of arrangement only comprises 30% of Airbnb accommodations. The other 70% include companies that are buying out entire buildings and leasing out all units on Airbnb, without actually living in the units themselves.  
Nancy noted that APALA argues for Uber and Lyft drivers to unionize so they can receive proper compensation, benefits, and protection as part-time and often over-time workers.

Like Local 21 Express: August 21, 2015 on Facebook



Oakland Update

Local 21 met with the Oakland City Administration team on Tuesday, August 11 throughout the day and into the evening to reach agreement on a new contract.  We invited Sabrina Landreth, our new City Administrator, to come to the table on Tuesday night to hear directly from us on the status of our negotiations.  We are hopeful that she will help everyone move towards a contract.

To date, the Oakland Contract Bargaining Team has met with the city more than 30 times to iron out the details of the upcoming contract, to plan outreach strategies, and to outline the next steps in the negotiation process. The CAT Team has also planned and implemented several actions to call attention to the contract negotiations. In addition, they have had more than two dozen meetings with city leaders to present factual information about budget resources.

The Oakland Bargaining Team has also signed off on many Tentative Agreements with the City including improvement in Uniform Allowance, unpaid family leave provisions, shifts and schedules, comp time language and more.

Stay tuned for Oakland’s next steps…

Like Local 21 Express: August 21, 2015 on Facebook



John Mukhar

It is with a heavy heart that we bid farewell to a Local 21 giant -- John Mukhar. 

John has served in many capacities at Local 21, most recently as San Jose's Association of Engineers and Architects President and Local 21 Executive Vice President. To send him off on a high note, Local 21 threw John a farewell party August 6, which was attended by current and retired Local 21 leaders, Local 21 Staff and Executive Committee Members, and South Bay labor leaders and elected officials. 

John Mukhar catches up with CAMP Board Member Linden Skjeie and former TAEA President Franceen Weisert-Anderson.

John was an engineer with the City of San Jose for 24 years before taking a job with Palo Alto this month.  He joined the Association of Engineers and Architects Board in 2004, and John served as 2nd Vice President, then as president from 2007 through this year.  He was on every AEA MOU Bargaining team since AEA affiliated with Local 21, and negotiated with the City of San Jose during some of the most contentious bargaining, including pension reform and Measure B. John served on Local 21's Executive Committee, two terms as Vice President for Membership and Organizing, two terms as Executive Vice President, and has strongly supported Local 21's initiatives over the past decade.  He's been a rally attendee, spokesperson, tireless campaign volunteer, energetic membership recruiter, patient mediator, motivating mentor, inspiring professor and dear friend. 
John will continue to teach undergraduate and graduate engineering courses at San Jose State University.  He resides in San Jose with his wife, two children, the family's two Fiats and two pet dogs.

Like Local 21 Express: August 21, 2015 on Facebook


Silicon Valley Rising

Local 21 in the South Bay has been working with Silicon Valley Rising leaders on organizing a meeting to discuss strategy about what the on-demand economy means to the labor movement, and what the labor and economic justice community can do to address the opportunities and challenges it brings.  On demand economy enterprises include Lyft, Uber, and Airbnb. While these crowd-sourced, social media savvy companies provide taxi and hotel services at a cheaper price, they are at the same time crowding out the traditionally regulated industries, threatening unionized taxi drivers and encroaching on rent controlled and affordable housing. And with venture capitalists investing more than $12 billion in this business model, it's imperative to organize!
Like Local 21 Express: August 21, 2015 on Facebook


The Changing Digital Face of Labor Unions 

Unions are not just for the blue collar manufacturing plant anymore. Organized labor is making headway into the digital office, which has up until now been unchartered terrain for traditional unions.
The recent wave of successful union drives in digital newsrooms, as well as in tech industry support services like distribution warehouses and shuttle buses, is leaving industry and news outlets feeling insecure these days.    While developers and other employees who work directly for large tech companies such as Google and Facebook still enjoy privileged services, recent unionization efforts at parallel support service contractors like Adecco are hitting close to home on tech worker turf.
Compass Transportation and Bauer’s Intelligent Transport Services are two companies that run the shuttle buses that transport tech employees in the ubiquitous wifi-equipped buses with tinted windows that have been accused by social justice and public transit activists of starving public transportation services and taking over public bus stops.
But unions and community organizations in Silicon Valley are fighting back.
Bob Brownstein, labor activist for community group Silicon Valley Rising and staff member at Working Partnerships in the South Bay told KQED last month that today, it's not just about “the struggles of security guards and cafeteria workers and shuttle drivers. It’s about a much larger low-wage sector that’s trapped in Silicon Valley.”    
In close proximity to the tech frontier recent unionization campaigns are raging and being waged. Web writers at online journalism outlets such as Gawker and Salon.com have won contracts with the Writers Guild of America, East following in The Guardian’s footsteps, when the major news outlet's US presence joined NewsGuild-CWA last month.
The changing face of unions, with more digital and social features, is likewise garnering increased support for unions from the US American public. Last week, a Gallup poll showed that union support in the United States jumped to 58% this year, up from 53% last year.  

Local 21 members contribute to the smooth operation of public information systems throughout the Bay Area, including SFMTA’s recent IT upgrades (read more about this in our Special Q&A with SFMTA Employee and L21 member Virdis Gamble) as well as worked on developing the San Francisco Airport’s GPS tracking and geo-zoning for revenue collection from Lyft and Uber cars. 
Given that information technology workers make up roughly 10% of L21 membership, these recent unionization efforts of digital workers in the private sector can serve as a promising opportunity to strengthen our ranks as well.

Like Local 21 Express: August 21, 2015 on Facebook


L21 Members Designated As Disaster Service Workers - But Many Live too Far Away from Bay Area Cities They Serve

What would happen if over half of San Francisco’s public employees who work to maintain the transit system, water quality and the city’s infrastructure couldn’t get to where they need to go if there were a disaster? This is the question we need to contemplate since over 50% percent the union is 4,955 members we represent in San Francisco alone live outside of the city limits. There is a similar scenario throughout the Bay Area, presenting significant health and safety concerns for the entire Bay Area.
Public service workers, including most Local 21 members, are designated by both State and City law as Disaster Service Workers. However, due to San Francisco’s skyrocketing rent and real estate costs, over half of them could be impeded from reinforcing first responders in the case of a catastrophic event where Bart stopped working and the bridges closed. 
While right-wing anti-union pundits assert that city employees already make a lucrative salary, the median salary of San Francisco city employees  -- approx. $90,000 per year -- does not allow city employees to buy a house or rent a single family home in Silicon Valley at current market rates, as it is only 45% of what is needed to purchase a home in a city where on average a house is priced at $1.2 million and the rent goes for $4,694 a month for a 2 bedroom apartment. The salary-to-housing cost ratio for our public employees reveals the strong nexus between labor, public safety and the urgent need for sustainably affordable homes and rentals in Silicon Valley and the Bay Area as a whole.
Like Local 21 Express: August 21, 2015 on Facebook



Upcoming Events  

Causa Justa Benefit

Causa Justa :: Just Cause is hosting our FREE monthly party series, "Friday Live" at El Rio in San Francisco. Our parties are every FIRST FRIDAY of the month. 

Codeword for free admission: "I love CJJC"

Doors open at 9pm. Sugar in the Salt performs at 10pm.

Causa Justa :: Just Cause builds grassroots power and leadership to create strong, equitable communities. Born through mergers between Black organizations and Latino organizations, we build bridges of solidarity between working class communities. 

Jobs with Justice Workers' Rights Board Hearing

Wednesday, September 9th (6 - 8 pm)
St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church, 
1661 15th St. (btwn Mission and Valencia) SF

The Workers Rights’ Board is a community project of Jobs with Justice San Francisco. For more info, email solidarity@jwjsf.org or call (415) 994-2496.

Copyright © 2015 IFPTE Local 21, AFL-CIO, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is: 1182 Market Street, Room 425 San Francisco, CA 94102
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