The Hayward City Council’s decision in 2014 to place an across the board 5 percent wage cut on over 300 of its city employees, roiled the labor movement and for years poisoned the relationship between City Hall and its workers. But the controversial imposition was later deemed illegal by the state Personnel Employment Relations Board (PERB).
Following an appeal by the city, a highly contentious chapter in Hayward politics appears to be over after the Hayward officials agreed last month to repay $2 million in lost wages and benefits to workers represented by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1021.
A PERB report in December 2015 determined that Hayward city leaders did not engage in good-faith negotiations with SEIU Local 1021 representatives before unilaterally reducing city workers’ pay by five percent, an average of $400 a month in lost wages for some workers. Over the previous four years, SEIU workers had agreed to a cumulative 12 percent reduction in wages and benefits.
It was really important to me to resolve this matter.-Hayward City Manager Kelly McAdoo
Councilmembers and then-Hayward City Manager Fran David repeatedly argued that without the cuts the city would struggle to maintain services and current staffing levels. “If we don’t save now, we put your benefits at risk,” Councilmember Al Mendall said in February 2014.
The city later appealed the decision in April 2016 while SEIU representatives publicly pleaded not to reopen the still healing wounds following the imposition battles that included a three-day strike by workers prior to the imposition in August 2013.
“Getting to this settlement required a long process, but our members never wavered in
their demand for fairness, and we are proud that they will finally recoup their losses,” SEIU Local 1021 Executive Director John Stead-Mendez, said in a statement.
Pending complaints previously scheduled to be heard by PERB have been dropped by both parties. SEIU Local 1021 leadership approved the agreement on Nov. 15 and the City Council did the same during a closed session meeting last Nov. 27. The city admits no wrong doing in the matter.
“It was really important to me to resolve this matter,” said Hayward City Manager Kelly McAdoo. “Our employees provide outstanding essential services to the Hayward community. Resolution of this matter helps us to repair the relationship with our employees, so that we can continue to provide outstanding services in a healthy and safe work environment.”
Although labor relations in Hayward have slowly improved under McAdoo–on the political front–union officials and local Democratic Party leaders maintain long memories. In the two election cycles since imposition, Hayward elected leaders have found little institutional support in the East Bay.
In addition, the political futures of some Hayward councilmembers remain up in the air because of their votes four years ago. In recent years, those up for re-election have mostly been shunned from endorsements by the Democratic Party and unions.
Those successful at the ballot box, such as Mayor Barbara Halliday, have done so, in part, because their challengers in both mayoral elections also voted for imposition.
Among the current Hayward City Council, those carrying the mark of imposition include, Halliday, Councilmembers Francisco Zermeño, Mark Salínas, and Mendall.