In a deal likely to set the tone for an entire wave of government labor negotiations, the second-largest union representing public employees in The City struck a deal with San Francisco last week in contract negotiations.
Negotiators for Local 21 of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, which represents more than 4,000 city and county employees, have agreed to contract terms that the union said in a statement would end “years of wage concessions given to The City by its employees.”
While neither Local 21 nor Mayor Ed Lee would provide any details about the tentative agreement until the affected workers finish voting on the proposal, a union press release said it would pass along “modest increases in healthcare costs,” which were related to the rising cost of such services and not San Francisco’s fiscal health.
“It’s probably a victory for both sides,” said Adam Gubser, a transit planner and union spokesman. “It ends the years of givebacks or concessions that the employees have gone through to help The City weather this economic time. At the same time ... it does still take into account the economic recovery, and it is definitely cognizant of the challenges that The City faces. I think it’s a really intelligent agreement.”
Local 21 was selected to be the first of several public employee unions to enter negotiations with San Francisco in 2012. Ratification of the tentative agreement in voting by employees, which concludes Thursday, would be expected to pave the way for San Francisco and other unions to agree on similar terms.
The union representing the largest number of San Francisco employees, Local 1021 of the Service Employees International Union, is currently negotiating with The City and plans a demonstration today outside City Hall.
Gubser said Local 21’s tentative agreement came four days into negotiations involving an outside arbitrator with the power to unilaterally set the conditions of the contract if the two sides did not come to terms on their own.
A spokeswoman for Lee did not respond to a request for comment on the agreement.