District Council 57

AFSCME FIGHTS SAN JOSE CITY COUNCIL’S FIRST STEP TO REMOVE PUBLIC EMPLOYEE RIGHTS

ONE OF THE WISCONSIN 14 STANDS WITH US TO PROTECT UNION RIGHTS IN SAN JOSE 


Borrowing from Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's anti-union playbook, San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed is boldly attempting to violate city workers’ collective bargaining rights by declaring what he terms a “fiscal state of emergency.”If passed, he and other City Council members believe they have the right to amend pension benefits for current and future workers without bargaining with city employee unions. Read the Mayor’s proposal.

CITY FAILS TO BARGAIN IN GOOD FAITH 

Both AFSCME Local 101 City of San Jose chapters have been at the bargaining table this spring in an attempt to achieve agreement on how to remedy the City’s looming budget deficit. We have argued that the projected deficit the City is pushing the panic button on is due, in part, to losses in retirement system earnings during the abrupt economic downturn. As the economy improves, the deficit is likely to be less than the dramatic projections the City is using to stir up resentment against City employees and the compensation they have been promised. Nevertheless the Union has made proposals in negotiations offering concessions, while the City stubbornly has refused to even issue counterproposals. They have threatened to invoke mediation, while never responding to our good faith efforts to negotiate a solution.

AFSCME LEADERS FORM ACTION TEAM, MOBILIZE MEMBERS AND RESIDENTS 

Brown bag lunch meetings at worksites provided member education about what was at stake, and formed the nucleus for a coalition of trade unionists, concerned residents, and leaders in the faith community. On May 17th, a Neighborhoods First Rally was attended by over 400 people. San Jose Municipal Employees Federation (MEF) President Yolanda Cruz decried the City’s scare tactics in declaring a Fiscal State of Emergency. AFSCME International Union Executive-Secretary Lee Saunders flew in from Washington to deliver the message that San Jose will not be the next Wisconsin, where Governor Walker eliminated collective bargaining rights for state workers with the stroke of a pen. Here’s what our MEF members have to say about the work they do to make San Jose happen, and the city’s state of fiscal emergency.  The rally led into a City Council Budget Study Session which rally participants crowded in to be heard by the Council.

MAY 24 NOONTIME RALLY SPILLS OVER TO CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS

Wisconsin State Senator Spencer Coggs raised the spirits of the crowd, urging them to fight the Mayor’s proposal which he likened to the Wisconsin anti-union move. Coggs was part of the group dubbed “The Wisconsin 14” when the Democratic legislators left the state and remained in hiding, rather than return to the Capitol and be part of a legislative move to decimate public employee unions. Coggs also spoke during public comment at the Council meeting, deriding council members who would vote for the Mayor’s reform package as DINO’s (or Democrats In Name Only). Speakers chimed in support for city workers, most of them residents and not city employees. A poignant observation was made by a city employee with Multiple Sclerosis, who pointed out that at the point at which he would be unable to work any longer and would have to retire, the Mayor’s proposal would render him ineligible for City retiree health benefits when he would need them the most.

CITY COUNCIL DELAYS OFFICIAL VOTE, STILL POISED TO DECLARE STATE OF EMERGENCY

While Mayor Reed, Vice-Mayor Nguyen, and Councilmembers Rose Herrera and Sam Liccardo hoped to push through a fiscal reform measure designed to degrade benefits for existing employees as well as future employees. Instead the City Council delayed the final vote until their June 21st meeting, Future actions to support our union rights are being planned between now and then. Click her to get involved in political lobbying and other community actions to protect our retirement security, or call 510-436-2203.

MEF Website


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