Sunday, February 21, 2010

Local 261 Chief Stewards and City Committee meet at 12pm Wednesday at Local 261 to come up with alternatives to the City's 37.5 hour proposal.

Brothers & Sisters:
When we read in the newspaper here that
The mayor has the authority under the city charter to reduce workweeks after consulting with union leaders, and the plan doesn't need approval from the Board of Supervisors. Layoffs, though largely a formality, would be required because 40-hour workweeks are inscribed in union contracts with the city.
while its always debatable, we had to consider that the meetings which would be taking place would be done so pursuant to the state labor code (ie. meet & confer,) rather than via the normal collective bargaining process. (Note: contract changes require ratification while, "meet & confer" is simply an obligation the employer has to its employees prior to making such changes.)
When "labor officials" from all affected unions (Vince Courtney, Adrian Field, Theresa Foglio, and Nikki Mixon for 261,) met with the Mayor at City hall that same afternoon, the Mayor indicated that the 37.5 hr work week was a "possible proposal," (we have since learned through the very public discussion of the issue related to the deficit that it is an overwhelmingly popular position with the citizens of San Francisco.)
While the Newsom administration has always indicated a willingness to talk with representatives of Local 261, we have been meeting regularly along with the SF Labor Council Public Employee Coalition on the issue (see powerpoint related to City's $522,200,000 deficit,) because it is City-wide problem and likely requires a city-wide solution.
Last week, the layoff/37.5hr work week became an official proposal across the board. Upon receiving the notice from Martin Gran, the coalition met again. It was decided by the coalition there that there would be no occasion to meet this Tuesday or Wednesday. By law, we must deal with the City in "good faith," therefore, on behalf of Local 261 we sent the following to Martin Gran:
While we have been participating in the "coalition" discussions, our Committee (Local 261 only,) believes that it is appropriate now to indicate our willingness to meet and "begin the process."
I have a scheduled City Committee meeting set for 12pm 2/24, which is open to all members and has already been announced in advance and by flyers throughout the City.
The Union's Public Employee Comittee has decided that they will work together at this meeting to come up with any and all alternatives to the massive layoff/37.5 hr work-week proposal with great hope that one will be ultimately acceptable for purposes our current budget situation.
Because of the meeting date, Tuesday is out and Wednesday as well. Can we set another date sooner, rather than later for such a discussion?
It is critical for us now, through our internal City Committee process to determine together our best course. Many unofficial proposals have already been forwarded to the Local Union. The meeting is intended to bring about proposals for a solution (not to get something off our chest!) Please prepare by asking yourself;
1. Do we accept as factual the 522 million dollar deficit? (see above)
2. What are alternatives that are of similar value? (days off, holidays, straight reductions, etc)
3. Would we be better off proposing to open the contract in order to get better standing on various issues?
By Wednesday afternoon, we will put the proposals up on the Board and will work diligently, transparently, and openly throughout this entire and difficult process.

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