City union negotiations come down to the wire
Original post made
on Jul 2, 2011
Agreements have been reached with the city's union leaders that will prevent layoffs over the next year, if the City Council approves the agreements by Tuesday.
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posted Friday, July 1, 2011, 3:57 PM
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Posted by Inside out/Outside in
a resident of another community
on Jul 7, 2011 at 6:00 pm
Over the past 25 years, it was my choice to be a local government worker. I worked for several years in Silicon Valley as an electronics worker who made silicon chips. Pay was excellent in the private sector with business booming. Heck in 1980 as a single woman I was making $30 an hour in quality control in the wafer fab. Life WAS good. Then after three layoffs within 15 months due to the first dot.com bust/recession, and after another year of not finding any electronics work (only skills I had), I begged unemployment to retrain me for anything other than electronics. There were just NO jobs. I went through training, learned to work in an office setting and with job placement, landed my first local government job n 1984. My new starting wage would be $8 bucks an hour. Yep, less than half of what I made before. Shocked going from $30/hr. to unemployment and up a tiny bit to my new wage, I was THANKFUL for a stable job. I never wanted to get laid off again. Eventually I started a family and my stable job and benefits were appreciated more so than ever. It always bugged me that I could take my new skills and 'go private' and make $17 to $25 bucks an hour, but the fear of being laid off again with a family kept me a government worker. I raised my family over the years and my children make me extremely proud. They may not have had all the newest things or the name brand clothes, or got to travel during summer vacations, but they were healthy, happy, fed, clothed and sheltered with tons of love. So my point is all government workers KNOW they can make more money in private industry, yet choose to stay a government worker. You know we do take pride in taking care of communities we don't even live in.
Then the 90s came and things got better and private industry was booming again, private pay rates increased, bonuses increased, percentage rates on annual performance evaluations were in double digits, all the while as a government worker, I had (and was still thankful) that I had stability and benefits that were affordable and helped me raise my family. I was able to live comfortably within my means. Yes I could use a 10% annual pay raise, but my negotiated 4% spread over three years would have to suffice.
Now that private industry is not as generous with pay raises, benefits, and lays off employees to meet quarterly reporting, government workers are being attacked for what they have which has always been far less than private industry. Just check out government jobs on line to see what they pay. Anyone want to apply for a Federal, State, City, or County job?? Low pay great benefits-great pride in serving the public. One just cannot compare private industry pay and salaries to any government agency. What can be done is citizens vote in council members who are not using city council status as a stepping stone for their personal political careers and holds their senior staff accountable for utilizing public funds. I am thankful to live in a city where the ''city staff' really works with the unions to come to reasonable results that do not adversely affect employees while meeting budgets. Please hold your City Managers, City Directors, city staff/management, accountable and responsible for any wrong doings or missed budgets.
Please do not attack government workers for what they have (and for what you may have lost) because due to the pharmaceutical, medical, insurance industries, labor unions (or lack of support thereof) government workers too will soon have high medical premiums, low wages, and one paycheck from bankruptcy or layoff depending on how the agency meets its budget goals. They will pay for more with less. Typically after reaching a certain step level (1 thru 5) there are no more cost of living raises unless it is in the budget to recognize its employees and is negotiated fairly, otherwise no raises to pay for national cost of living increases ie. Food, gas, shelter, etc. I NEVER had a private industry person say they would like to have my job prior to 2007. Now, I am sure that someone would stab me in the back just to have my stable, low paying job with some benefits that remain……for now.
P.S. Steve from Sylvan Park neighborhood, go to any local City agency website (City of Redwood City, Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, Mountain View) and in the Human Resources area you will find the labor agreements and pay salaries for all workers (management, PD, Fire, SEIU, etc.) I am knowledgable and I hope you have been enlightened. The information is there. Seek and ye shall find.