Tuesday, December 21, 2010

San Leandro Approves Union Contracts Despite Cassidy's Protest

By Steven Tavares

During a combative, sometimes riveting, city council session Monday night, it was the union's who struck back after a long campaign season in which their service was often villified by candidates. The council approved, 5-0, two city employee contracts covering over 300 workers and containing no wage increases for a third straight contract along with cuts in salary up to 2.8 percent from 6 furlough days. Vice Mayor Ursula Reed and Councilman Bill Stephens, in his final meeting before retirement, both abstained.

It was the night when many of San Leandro's political leaders had to ante up and show their cards regarding their support of the two controversial union contracts and in many ways illustrated how they may interact in the future with new the mayor.

The negotiations with the San Leandro Management Organization (SLMO)and San Leandro City Employees Association (SLCEA) had been on-going for months. The end of their one-year contract expires at the end of this year. Mayor-elect Stephen Cassidy had urged the council to put off finalizing any deal with the unions until he takes offices Jan. 1. Throughout the campaign Cassidy had espoused fiscal responsibility and zeroed in on ballooning city employee pensions. The two deals, still to be ratified by the unions, do not contain concessions on the issue of pension. A string of opponents to the proposed union deal voiced concern to its possible affects Monday night.

"If they do not make concessions, they may not have jobs," said Johanne Dictor, who described herself as a former union shop steward. Dictor also participates on Cassidy's transition team. San Leandro School Board President Morgan Mack-Rose also criticized the deals for reducing the number of furlough days from 12 to 6 amid severe budget uncertainty. Dave Johnson, the CEO of the San Leandro Chamber of Commerce asked the council to reassess the deals next year. "Patience may be the most prudent course of action for all of you," said Johnson.

The notion the two deals could be altered in the new year under the incoming administration was rebuffed by the city attorney who said any changes to the deal under collective bargaining could put the city in legal jeopardy. Councilman Jim Prola thanked the employees for their concessions during the tough economic environment and said any changes to the deals would constitute "regressive bargaining," which he noted is against the law. "I'm not going to be the Grinch and I'm not going to do something illegal," Prola said.

Various speakers and councilmembers noted the current pension deals with city employees were adopted in 2000 as a way for the city save money while giving workers a pay increase. Sharon Cornu of the Alameda Labor Council said the next couple of years could be a continuation of the current economic doldrums, but the future could also be better. Like Stephens, Mayor Tony Santos was participating in his last council meeting. Santos continued his long-time support for union causes. "Workers need to work together to protect their rights," said Santos. "For anybody to deprive any individuals of that right is a violation of the American dream."

Cassidy and Councilwoman-elect Pauline Cutter had urged for a say on the vote when they take office, but the likelihood their potential votes against the deal could have changed the outcome of the vote was erased when the council unanimously approved the deals. While Stephens abstained on the vote saying he would support giving the new members a look at the confidential negotiations, but he doubted their opposition would made a difference. "You can delay the vote a couple of weeks, but I still don't think the end result will be different," said Stephens. Councilwoman Joyce Starosciak assured the incoming members the city's negotiating team had bargained effectively with the unions and believed once apprised of the deal would agree with her assessment. "I hope you will ultimately see the merits of this proposal," said Starosciak.

The potential two-year deals with SLMO and SLCEA will put all the city employee contracts in line to expire at the end of 2012. Highlights of the two city employee included no wage increases for the next two years. City employees will have gone five years without a pay increase by the end of the proposed contract. Workers will lose 2.8 percent of the salaries through 6 furlough days, with a re-opener clause that could increase the number within the next two years. Similar to their previous contract, city employees will pay half of any increases to their health insurance premiums. The city estimates cost-savings totalling $675,000 from the deals.

POLITICS HOMEGROWN http://www.eastbaycitizen.com/


  1. At times when city employees spoke it almost seemed like something sacred.In an open debate with the deficit hawks they had a stronger argument. Morgan Mack Rose to her credit said she wasn't an expert on the budget.Tim Holmes likes to use the phrase "One trick pony."Hope Cassidy gets beyond the budget issue.

  2. The fact is San Leandro is an extremely ghetto town with overpaid morons in city administration.

    Replacing them all with mentally disabled folks from local job training programs would save the city a lot of money and provide a higher caliber/intellect of city employee. Start with Hollister first since he quit.

  3. Santos "Workers need to work together to protect their rights," said Santos. "For anybody to deprive any individuals of that right is a violation of the American dream."
    What about the citizens right to decent roads, nice libraries, etc.? this guy is insane. No, Cassidy wasn't delivered a defeat, the taxpayers of San Leandro were. And that loser Santos should know about defeat...loser!

  4. I have every right to be what I am. Anonymous obviously is the biggest idiot in town. Join the military if your old enough to do so. I am going to say this one more time; I have been in a war zone being bombed and facing the ravages of war as has my wife. I further gave six years of my life in a dangerous job in the air force for idiots who have no respect and feel the world owes them a living. If they did the same thing I did, maybe they would be less abusive. They are stupid-tea party types like cassidy and his minions. Fact is cassidy was briefed by the city attorney and advised the city could not rescind the agreement reached with its employees. If we had, we would face legal action and would lose. Bill Stephens and Ursula Reed were disingenious by their votes. Both participated in the process and had input and provided input into the final settlement. To abstain, basically saying no, did not represent their positions in closed session. I say tape closed sessions and then open up the tapes after action taken to note what was stated in those sessions. By the way there is no cost to the city on the agreements. It appears many of you need a lesson in government. I plan on attacking cassidy until he finally apologizes to us; fact is he does not know nor understand local government. And don't come before the council and audiance and state he brings a "truthfulness" to the process. He does not know how to tell the truth. Fact is, finally, we are now being led by the tea party and we will see how the tea party reacts to governing.

  5. Santos you have every right to be a jackass, that is true. But YOU do not have the right to use fascist tactics to prop up government employee bloated pay. You are only kissing their ass because you needed approval for all those trips you were taking across the globe. You are a pig whose snout has rutted the cash of this town.

    You were also stationed in Germany during the 50's which saw no hot action other than Korea and you weren't there. You are the only jackass you thinks the taxpayers owe you a living. So STFU, change your Depends and exit.

    You have always been a bitter old curmudgeon and now the truth is out.

  6. Santos - "No cost to the city"? What do you think the unfunded pension liability is that's been eating up the budget reserves? Please "visit" Korematsu High and take a 9th grade civics class and maybe a basic math class while you're there. You sir, are a moron!

  7. Anoynomous, I will meet you anytime to talk about my service with the 84th air rescue squadron in Germany. Those of us who served in rescue, "So others may live," took our work serious. Talk to anyone who flew on H19's and ask them about their duties. If you just go on the internet and plug in "Blons, Austria," you will see my unit in action and here I almost lost my life, but I am here to write about it, but nine of my close buddies are not. I am not here to talk about my exploits but to represent those friend of mine who lost their lives working for guys, I am sure it is a guy, like you. If you had served, instead of bitching all the time, you might be a better person. Do something for the community instead of complain all the time. And by the way, I was living five miles from pearl harbor in 1941 and the japanese planes flew over our houses whild making their run into pearl. I doubt you had to take a gas mask to school for two years as we had to do in Honolulu subsequent to the bombing. Further, I am sure you have relatives who served in WW2, Korea, Vietnam and maybe Iraq and Afghanistan; ask them on their feelings and their sacrifices.

  8. Santos, you were a small little keiki running around Kalihi and Punchbowl barefoot and eating lunch at Kalihiwaena School.