Local 3090’s bargaining team met with the City for the first time on Thursday, May 15. If that meeting was an indicator of future ones, I can only say we will have a steep uphill climb. The City is looking for an all-concession contract and you should be very alarmed.
While the Mayor’s proposed budget did not call for layoffs, it also did not address the critical staffing shortage. Obviously we will not, in our careers anyway, see staffing levels of pre ERIP, but given increased revenues there was some expectation of reasonable restoration. The ever-present $242 million deficit was once again raised, the gap closed and even more reserve funds being set aside in case of rainy days ahead; a reserve fund which is at an all time high. The Fix LA Coalition continues to work to identify resources. As pointed out in the report “No Small Fees” the City paid over $200 million in fees to Wall Street banks in 2013. Those funds could have been used to provide quality of life services that were drastically reduced during the recession. The Fix LA Coalition, a coalition of community organizations, clergy and labor was formed to bring attention to the blight in our communities and demand that the City allocate resources to address the problems.
We have been attending and testifying at the Budget and Finance Committee hearings for the past two weeks. Once again, the Coalition presented to the committee its alternative budget, “A Balanced Plan to Fix L.A.” Read the full report here. The report recommends an approach to the budget centered around three issues:
• Maximize and reclaim revenue before cutting services.
• Prioritize restoring neighborhood services to pre-recession levels.
• Prioritize providing good jobs for Angelenos.
Together, with the Coalition of LA City Unions, we’ve made it clear that these negotiations are about making sure the city has proper services that function well for its citizens. And that takes workers to get the job done. We all know these will be tough negotiations, and that is why we will be calling on you in the coming weeks and months to turn out for hearings or actions. It will take a united front to succeed.
In other news, the Local held elections for delegates to attend the 41st AFSCME International Convention in Chicago this July. We will report on the proceedings of the convention on our return.
We hope to see you at our next membership meeting, Saturday, June 7 at 10 a.m. Get the latest updates on negotiations and find out what you can do to get a fair contract.
And finally, as Memorial Day approaches, please take time to remember and honor all those who have served our country proudly and defended our freedoms.
Alice Goff, President
Update on two tier pension
After months of legal arguing, the Coalition had a victory on May 19 at the Employee Relations Board. The Board ruled in our favor on the issue of a timely challenge. Read the LA Times article here. A hearing can now proceed on the merit of the case – whether or not the City was obligated to bargain over a change to the pension system. We believe we will prevail as the contract language is clear.