Hayward City Employees Prepare For Three-Day Strike

Striking Hayward city employees set to picket
in front of Hayward City Hall starting Tuesday.

HAYWARD//STRIKE | In Hayward, the confluence of an uncompromising city manager, a complacent City Council and city employees hoping for relief following three years of concession have led to a three-day strike set to begin Tuesday morning.

Two hundred eight members of the Service Employees International Union, Local 1021 have been without a new contract since April. Union street maintenance crews, water treatment and animal control workers, along with library assistants approved a strike last June. Last week, negotiations with the city hit an impasse leading the union to make good on its threat to strike, starting 6 a.m., Tuesday. The union says it will hold solidarity rallies each day in front of Hayward City Hall at 12 p.m. and 5 p.m.

On Monday, the city filed a complaint with the California Public Employees Relations Board against the union alleging it negotiated in bad faith. “We have continuously negotiated in good faith with SEIU Local 1021 since September of 2012; and are frustrated by the tactics utilized by Regional SEIU leadership that appear to be to the detriment of our Hayward employees,” said Hayward City Manager Fran David in a statement.

Hayward’s city leadership has maintained the union should follow other bargaining units in the city who, like firefighters, previously agreed to no wage increases through 2015 and paying up to 17 percent towards the cost of their pensions. SEIU Local 1021 last received a wage increase in 2010.

The city says it has replacement workers ready to take over union member’s shifts if the strike proceeds as planned.

In each of the past four budget years, Hayward has closed substantial budget deficits on the back of concessions from workers. In 2011, it closed a $20 million shortfall with city employees help. Again, in 2012, city employees help slash the expected deficit significant through concessions. The city, however, claimed last June, a slowly recovering economy still hasn’t closed its budget uncertainty.

As far back as 2011, Hayward’s city manager has stated a discernible hard stance against city employees. In a blog, hosted on the city’s Web site, David routinely railed against workers and urged greater changes to its structural deficit. David alluded to the refrain in Monday’s statement. “This is not a problem to be solved by more revenue:” she said, “it is a paradigm shift that must be addressed for the long-term health of our community and the security of our employees.”

SEIU Local 1021 says the city has avoided any tangible negotiations with the union since February. Gary Jimenez, vice president of Local 1012, says workers merely want to recoup some of the lost wages its gave back to the city over the past few years. “After losing more than 12 percent of their wages, these workers are expected to simply take what the city put on the table—amounting to another 5 percent loss–without substantive bargaining and with numerous [unfair labor practice] violations by the city,” he said .

Few members of the Hayward’s City Council have taken strong stances either for union membership or the city manager’s position. However, it has unanimously approved specific city goals to tamp down employee costs. The union chided Hayward Mayor Michael Sweeney for being on vacation through the end of the month while the city faces an impending labor crisis, along with other council members taking off for the annual August recess.



Categories: August recess, budget, city employees, CPERB, Hayward, Hayward City Council, labor, labor negotiations, Michael Sweeney, pensions, SEIU, shortfall, strike

58 replies

  1. Wall Street and corporate america caused the destruction of the pension funds and their surpluses. CalPers and others are now coming back with higher tan average gains!

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  2. 1:04, I see, boosting pensions by 25% over-night and making the boost retroactive.

    No, that wouldn't have any impact on the unfunded liability of the situation.
    At least Hayward didn't boost it 35% like Oakland did.
    Then again, Alameda didn't boost it at all, so they didn't have to retreat back to the old sensible rates.

    Of course your opinion is better informed than CalPERS own Chief Actuarial who urged the board to take a more sensible estimate of future earnings.
    Sure, sure, it will all just work out, won't it..
    Anyone who suggests otherwise is anti-worker.

    You'll have fun blaming the bad guys when the money runs out. Of course Hayward City leaders and the unions will bear no fault at all.

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  3. Anon above needs to stop listening to the conservative media. CalPers was doing well till the severe Bush recession hit . As we come out of the recession it is earning double digit percentages again and over the next 10 years will right itself like it has always done. The average CalPers pension is about 30,000 dollars a year.

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  4. Agree with the above statement. I worked for the state and my wife worked for the city. Our combined retirement pensions are about 61,000 dollars a year and in the Bay Area with it's high cost of living, we are not living the life of luxury.

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  5. Let me intervene in the dialogue here. Hayward taxpayers don't just provide money to City employee payroll. Among the payments we have been forced to subsidize are the billions in tax cuts and loopholes which are enjoyed almost entirely by the wealthy. They call many of these loopholes “tax expenditures” for a reason. Even those which aren't labeled expenditures are still tax cuts which usually widen our budget deficits. Hayward taxpayers shouldn't be burdened to make up for the tax cuts we give to General Electric, Chevron, and other powers, but we are.

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  6. Yes yes, we always hear about the “average” CalPERS pension.

    Trouble is you leave out most of the facts.

    #1. The average person in the private sector works from age 23 or 24 until retirement at age 65 or 66, when they can collect full Social Security.
    42 to 43 years of a work.

    Compare that to the average CalPERS retiree who has only put in 19.7 year of service to get their “average” pension. (CalPERS facts)

    Should you get a full pension for less than half a career?

    #2. The CalPERS “average” pension is made up of loads of older retirees who retired when
    —(A) pension accrual rate were far lower. 2% or less versus 2.0% or more, including 2.5% and sometimes 2.7% for each year of service for regular employees. Most workers retiring currently are at the higher levels and that will continue for the next 20 years.

    —(B) salaries were lower relative to today's workers even when inflation is considered.

    #3. The figures you seldom see published are what are the “average” pensions for those who have retired in the past 2 years, who worked a full career of 30 or more years.

    Those figures give “average” pensions of more than double the most often cites “average” CalPERS pensions.

    You see, you can easily mislead the public with data when you give out low-ball numbers.

    BTW, also left out is that those “average” retirees have normally worked half their career in the public sector and another half in the private sector, for which they will also collect their Social Security with a small reduction since they are collecting a government pension.

    I believe the maximum reduction in their Social Security check is about $370 a month, still leaving them with a considerable Social Security addition to their CalPERS pension.

    So how about giving the readers all the facts.

    I know you don't like him, but take read for some true facts about “average” pensions.

    http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_17299237?source=most_emailed

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  7. As long as rich people want to live in California, and companies want to do business in California, you can raise taxes on them to pay for public union salaries, pensions, healthcare, and whatever else. The ultra-wealthy (from all over the world) will still want to live in California, and you can tax them, and the middle class will be cemented by the public unions and retirees.

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  1. Hayward settles dispute with SEIU over illegal wage cuts, will repay workers $2 million

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