District Council 57

STOP the Attacks on our Civil Rights!

Below are excerpts from a letter from AFSCME Local 101 President and MEF Chapter President Yolanda Cruz and CEO Chapter President LaVerne Washington from June 15.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

AFSCME members as well as the other City of San Jose employees are facing unprecedented attacks from Mayor Reed and the City Council. There is a lot of information swirling around out there, but here are the facts:


  • The City failed to negotiate with us to reach an acceptable contract and imposed terms and conditions of  employment on our members, despite our offer of significant givebacks.

  • They have demanded pension reform, yet in negotiations failed to pass a single proposal across the table. They continue to use outdated and incomplete figures to describe the current state of our retirement system.

  • Instead of working with employees to make any changes, they are taking away our voice and putting our retirement security on the ballot.


We have always stated that we are willing to discuss pension changes as part of contract negotiations. Yet we continue to be vilified by the Mayor, City Council and the media as the cause of the City budget challenges. Our proposed alternative budget solutions that would save tens of millions of dollars and maintain critical neighborhood services continue to be ignored.

Do not be fooled. This is not just a fight about our contract - it's a fight for our basic collective bargaining rights. And it's a fight about the future of San Jose. Do we want to live and work in a city that prioritizes downtown connected interests over the neighborhood services we provide? Do we want work for a city that ignores our voices?

When we are confronted with these attacks, WE FIGHT BACK.

We cannot rely on the media to fairly report on these challenges and so we are taking our message directly to residents. Through phone calls, mailings and door-to door visits, outreach to community groups, faith-based organizations and small businesses, we are letting our neighbors know the Mayor and City Council have a choice. They can continue their disastrous path of slashing neighborhood services and scapegoating city workers, or they can work in partnership with us and put San Jose Neighborhoods First.

Our efforts are working. Calls to City Council Members asking them to vote against the Mayor's plan have dramatically increased. The City Council is getting nervous - and desperate. They're trying to pit the community and employees against one another to distract us from their votes to destroy collective bargaining and neighborhood services.

We will not be drawn into a false and distracting battle pitting worker against worker. We will not play into the Mayor's "divide and conquer" strategy. Nor will we back down from fighting for a fair contract, common sense reforms and city services. Even if it means highlighting other wasteful spending by elected officials and forcing them to defend their ill-advised actions. We must stay focused on the real fight: taking our message directly to the community.

If we continue to stay strong and stand together, we can win this fight. Each of us must take an active role to protect our basic rights, achieve a fair contract, and preserve critical services.

Please sign the petition authored by Councilmember Ash Kalra.

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