Negotiations with the City began in mid May and I wish I had better news to report. But progress on a new contract for Local 3090 is crawling along.
We continue to negotiate in good faith on our part and have put forward changes to enhance language in several articles of the MOU. In addition, there have been presentations from members on inequities specific to their classification. We will not have a response on any of our proposals until we have completed our full package. As I reported in June, the City did not submit their proposals to us in a timely manner so we are still working to resolve that. At this time, there is no prediction on an end date to these negotiations. But rest assured, we will continue to keep you informed on our progress and any other actions to raise our collective voices.
In solidarity with one of the Coalition unions, Teamsters Local 911, we participated in a press conference and rally to highlight the major problem facing crossing guards. On August 12, the first day of school for LAUSD students, over 200 crossing guards, LAUSD School Board members, clergy and community organizations from the Fix LA Coalition, as well as parents, spoke up about the severe shortage of crossing guards at elementary and middle schools. Following the press conference, the group filled Council Chambers to implore City Council members to consider the safety of the children and restore the positions that have been cut.
In the good news department, the Coalition has racked up two impressive wins in the past few weeks and is working on a third:
• We’ve reported to you on the ruling by the Employee Relations Board to accept the hearing officer’s decision that the City did not bargain prior to implementing a two-tier pension plan. The City has said it will appeal, however we are confident that we will prevail.
• On August 13, the City Council voted unanimously in favor of a motion brought by Paul Koretz which calls on NY Mellon Bank and Dexia to renegotiate or terminate the interest rate swap deals that are costing the City millions of dollars. It is estimated that those fees could be as much as $65 million. The motion also asks the City Attorney to consider all related reports, including the Coalition’s “No Small Fees” report, to evaluate potential legal remedies that the City may have. Being able to recoup even a portion of these fees would allow the restoration of badly needed services to our communities. We are Bargaining to Fix LA – it’s aged water pipes, potholes, buckled sidewalks and debris-filled alleys; restore programs in the parks, and staffing levels. This is a step in the right direction and we will continue to bargain with our community partners.
• After our unfair labor practice charge was filed and arguments made at the Employee Relations Board, the City requested to meet on the unilateral implementation of a new reciprocity plan with the DWP. Once again, the CAO bargained with the union representing the DWP, IBEW, and not with us. Perhaps they learned from the pension ruling.
November Elections are coming up and right after Labor Day most campaigns will be in full swing. The LA County Board of Supervisors District 3 will be a highly competitive race. We have endorsed former State Senator Sheila Kuehl because she has an impressive labor record and has championed health care for all for a very long time. She sponsored legislation that passed through the legislature two times only to be vetoed by the governor. We will be asking for volunteers for this race and others. More information will be provided soon.
With Labor Day fast approaching, this is the time to encourage solidarity among all workers. The annual Labor Day parade and picnic is scheduled for Monday, September 1. The march begins at Broad and E Street in Wilmington and ends at Banning Park with a family style picnic with music and free hot dogs and soft drinks. Come celebrate with all the labor unions in LA County and show off your AFSCME pride. Get details here.
As always, I encourage everyone to participate in the monthly membership meetings and other actions and events to show your support. You are the union and it’s critical right about now that the City sees our strength and unity. August’s membership meeting was well attended and we hope to continue to see more new faces.
Enjoy the rest of your summer and have a great Labor Day!