As the warmer months approach, it’s nice to see things are heating up in a positive direction for city workers on several fronts. We have long been trying to fight our way back to a healthy number of employees to manage the monumental number of tasks a city like ours faces. Along with building back the workforce, maintaining good wages and benefits is also critical. For non city workers, a living wage and benefits allow them to provide for their families and participate in our economy. And now it is finally starting to come together for working people.
Last year, the City of Los Angeles passed a $15 an hour minimum wage increase that helped set the stage for a state increase that was signed by Governor Brown last month. This is terrific progress and a huge win for working families. This comes alongside a proposal, backed by the City Council that would double the number of sick days non city employees could earn a year. This means, as L.A. County Federation of Labor Secretary-Treasurer Rusty Hicks put it, “no longer will workers have to make a choice between putting food on the table and getting well.”
Controller Ron Galperin recently released the results of an audit of the Los Angeles Police Department that revealed a staggering number of officers doing desk work – work that civilian employees like the members of AFSCME Local 3090 should be doing. We have long known about this problem, a 2009 Controller audit revealed similar numbers and made similar recommendations. Nothing was done to change the staffing then but now we have the backing of strong voices at City Hall and beyond.
The City Council adopted a slightly revised budget from what Mayor Garcetti proposed. While the focus was on reducing homelessness, there was an overall increase in spending albeit a modest 2 percent. An increase in the municipal workforce which is also modest at best, to 33,000 employees will provide 300 civilian positions in the police department. As the LA Times notes, this is still far below the pre-recession levels of 37,000.
This is all to say, along with our new contract, there are signs of progress on the rehabilitation of our city. I want to stress that we at AFSCME 3090, with your help, will continue to press forward with improvements that will make life better for both the citizens of Los Angeles and its employees.
The 42nd International AFSCME Convention will take place in Las Vegas in July this year. We nominated and elected nine delegates at our last meeting who will attend as representatives of Local 3090. We will network with other AFSCME Locals and exchange best practices in representation. You will be able to follow along on social media and will get a full report back on convention actions.
Also at our last meeting, Wendy Li, Administrative Clerk at Building and Safety was sworn in as AFSCME 3090’s newest trustee. Welcome Wendy, we know you will be diligent and we are excited to be working with you.
I hope to see you at our next membership meeting which is our quarterly Saturday meeting scheduled for June 4 at 10 a.m. Come for breakfast and stay for the info and discussion. A second session of Oral Interview Training will be held at 1 p.m. Class size is limited, however we will schedule another if there is need. RSVP for the training with Bernice at 213 487-9887 ext 340.