By Bill Brill
Over 50 of our 67 members at the City of Santa Clara showed up at a City Council meeting in mid-November. The members were dressed in orange to demonstrate their unified opposition to the City Manager’s plan for reducing the workforce. It was an impressive turnout by our members. However, about midnight, the City Council voted to support the City Manager’s plan.
We have been notified of nine positions being eliminated out of our 67 members there.
Thirty-four of our members showed up at the unit meeting on Nov. 17 and voted unanimously to not open up the contract in order for these cuts to take place. Seven of the nine affected members were at the unit meeting and voted to stand up to the City. I later learned that two of those affected would be interviewed on Dec. 8 (the date they are supposed to receive their layoff notices) for two new apprentice lineman positions. Go figure.
The City Manager had announced a 10% across the board staff reduction in all bargaining units, including the IBEW Local 1245 members, unless all bargaining units agree to a wage freeze in all negotiated contracts. In our case, this would be the 4.5% wage increase negotiated two years ago effective 1-1-11 for our members. In addition to the wage freeze, the City Manager also wants our members to take either 12 furlough days next year or an additional 5.15% wage cut, with the promise there will be no layoffs in 2011.
Local 1245 has argued that our members wages and benefits are paid solely out of the Electric Enterprise Fund and those funds would not help the City reduce its deficit in the General Fund. We are also arguing the City has not demonstrated that it is necessary to reduce the workforce.
Bill Brill is Local 1245 Business Representative