Local 21 EXPRESS

December 21, 2015

Happy Holidays from L21 Officers and Staff!

We wish all Local 21 members, their friends and families a wonderful holiday season.  We encourage you to take time off, put your phones away and enjoy time and conversations with all those close to you.  2016 looks like it will be another excellent year following the year ending with a larger Union than ever. We negotiated excellent contracts and wage increases.  As always we thank you for your support and engagement.  Watch for open house details for our new SF Headquarters in January.  

New Office in Operation

Our growing Local 21 has found the perfect fit in its expanded San Francisco headquarters. It has been three weeks now since we’ve moved to our new location, just one block from our previous office in the Civic Center area, and we are settling into the everyday routine in our new space.

Our expansive office space will be a great base for all members. In contrast to our previous office space in the historical Orpheum Theater building, our well-lit and modern office space offers larger waiting areas, tall windows, improved handicapped accessibility, a state-of-the-art conference room equipped with two screens and up-to-date AV sound system, and private meeting rooms.

"I'm sure we will miss our old space in the Orpheum Theater building. However, our new office better reflects the professionalism and talents of our membership," said Bob Muscat, the Union's Executive Director.

The new address of the SF Main office is:
1167 Mission Street, Suite 201
San Francisco, CA 94103
Phone: (415) 864-2100

Local 21 Members Approve San Jose Pension Measure B Settlement TA  

After years of battling and hard work, Local 21 is pleased to announce that our City of San Jose members overwhelmingly voted to ratify a framework to settle litigation over the contentious, illegal Measure B. The City Council approved the framework last week.

Measure B was part of former San Jose Mayor Reed's attempt to eliminate vested rights and gut the pension benefits of San Jose City employees. L21 warned that Measure B would destroy City departments and services.  S
ince 2011, we have fought vigorously, on many fronts,  to overturn it -- and this Settlement Agreement does just that.  

The deal restores disability protections fully; it creates a competitive Tier 2 for new hires; and it responsibly protects retiree healthcare benefit for eligible employees. In addition, the settlement creates a sensible alternative for employees hired since July 2012, while it affords Tier 1 employees (those hired before July 2012) the ability to choose which option they believe is the best for themselves.  

The Settlement Framework is the culmination of exhaustive efforts over the past four years by IFPTE Local 21 and our three San Jose City chapters: the Association of Engineers and Architects, the Association of Maintenance Supervisory Personnel and the City Association of Management Personnel. 

Local 21 Attorney Christopher Platten provides a more detailed look at the agreement in this video:

The settlement is a complex agreement and at this stage remains a Framework.  Much work remains. For more detailed information, read here

Berkeley Unified School District Reaches Agreement

After many months of hard bargaining, Local 21 Berkeley Unified School District chapter has reached a new contract. L21 ultimately won its organized District employees  a 4% raise from the District, retroactive to July of 2015, and an additional 1% towards healthcare with no concessions.  The reopener specifically relates to compensation and healthcare.
The majority of the bargaining units represented by other unions at the District had settled months before, but unfortunately, at the start of bargaining, BUSD was not willing to take the same approach with Local 21, demanding that we take significant concessions in vacation in order to get the same economic package the other units received.
L21 members ratified this agreement last week and we are all very excited to wrap this first round of bargaining up before the holidays.  


L21 Bargains 6-Yr Contract with CPI-based 3%-5% Raises, First Union to Settle with CCWD

Local 21 is pleased to announce that our chapter was the first union to reach an agreement with the Contra Costa Water District last month, settling on a six-year contract with a 3% to 5% raises, to be determined based on the consumer price index (CPI).
Although the District enjoyed a very positive financial year, they were still seeking significant concessions from our members.  They were proposing a 2-year contract to allow for further concessions on healthcare in 2018, once the excise, or “Cadillac tax” under the Affordable Care Act is scheduled for implementation. In addition, the District was asking employees to pick up 50% of the normal cost of the other post-employment benefits, or OPEB (which amounts to about a 5% employee contribution); to adopt a slimmed-down version of all medical plans offered; to take on a 50% cost sharing of medical premium increases; to give up retiree health for all new hires; and lastly, they were proposing a meager 1.5% wage increase in year 1 with a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA)-based increase on CPI in year 2. 
However, after months of bargaining, we upped the ante and were able to get a much better deal than what the District originally proposed -- one that our members could support. We were able to decrease their originally proposed OPEB contribution of 5% down to 4.3%, with no more than a 1% increase from year to year in exchange for lifetime retiree medical coverage for both the employee and their spouse.  The contract settlement contains a reopener specifically triggered in the event that the ACA excise tax is implemented.   
We did agree to the City's proposed healthcare plan redesign but are confident that the raises we bargained for will more than offset this concession.  
The membership voted to ratify this agreement in late November, and although everyone would have liked to take less of a hit in the healthcare plan redesign, the members are still pleased with the agreement.


L21 Alameda County Chapter Pushes Back Against Proposed Healthcare Takeaways  

The Professional Association of County Employees (PACE) bargaining team, which represents social service professionals in Alameda County, has been engaged in negotiations with the County for a new contract since November.  After four bargaining sessions, the most significant proposals received from the County have been takeaways, including an increase in the amount we pay for our medical premiums and a decrease in the amount of child bonding leave.
The L21 bargaining team, however, is pushing back, proposing a number of benefit improvements including: an across-the-board wage increase, equity increases for certain classifications, an expansion of employees eligible to purchase vacation time, increased management leave and management benefits, modifications to flex time, premium pay to address workload issues for supervising eligibility technicians, and contract language that helps address supervisors’ concerns about the County’s problematic work space plans. 
The next bargaining session has been scheduled for January 2016, so stay tuned for further reports!


Welcome New L21 Staff Rep: Ken Thorbourne

Ken Thorbourne, Local 21's newest hire, will start as full-time staff representative with the Union on January 4.
The new kid on the L21 block has more than 15 years experience as a union and community organizer. Ken has worked for various unions, both in the public and private sector, and as a community organizer in his native Brooklyn, Los Angeles, and New Jersey.
Relocating from New Jersey, Ken has spent the last 15 years working as an award-winning journalist for The Jersey Journal, a daily that covers news and events in Hudson County, New Jersey.
As an organizer for the garment workers union in the '90s, Ken led an innovative campaign in Brooklyn organizing thousands of workers. With Communications Workers of America, Ken represented hundreds of public sector workers at the Department of Labor in Trenton, New Jersey. Also in New York, Ken helped spearhead the effort that led to the Big Apple's first living-wage law. He also played a key role in expanding the Nehemiah Plan, an affordable housing initiative that has gained national recognition.
"It feels great to be returning to the labor movement, especially to come on board with such a smart and energetic union like Local 21," Ken said. "I look forward to working with our talented members to maintain historical gains won in the past as well as to make improvements moving forward."


San Bernardino Massacre: L21 Holiday Solidarity Message with SEIU Local 721 

While the news media has been obsessed with identifying the suspected shooters, let’s not forget that the slain, injured and traumatized victims of the massacre of the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, who were – like us – unionized public workers. Ten of the 14 county employees killed in the December 9 attacks, and at least six of the 21 injured, were members of SEIU Local 721. See their names and leave a message of condolence and solidarity on the Local 721 website.
Let’s take a moment at L21 in solidarity to remember our union sisters and brothers who fell victim to this heinous crime. During this holiday season, let’s stop to reflect on how we can together work toward fostering peace and good will while we continue to struggle for a more just and sane world.

In this Dec. 7, 2015 file photo Arlene Payan holds a candle during a vigil to honor shooting victims in San Bernardino, Calif. (c/o Associated Press / Jae C. Hong)
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