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City "Leaders" Hypocrisy Knows No Bounds

For the last few weeks, the City has been a broken record about how “disappointed they were” in city employees for not reducing our wage proposal. If you’ll recall, the City even attempted to strong-arm the Union using an illegal bargaining stunt and let us know they would refuse to have meaningful discussions on other topics until we showed movement on wages. In a good-faith effort to restart negotiations and get the City back to good-faith bargaining, the Union made some significant movement in our wage proposal to the City on Wednesday. We reduced our offer and proposed a three-year agreement with yearly wage increases of 8.5%, 8%, and 6.5%.

In an insulting, tone-deaf, but entirely predictable move, the City’s half-million-dollar anti-union lawyer(s) - at the direction of the City Council, City manager, and the HR Director – increased their offer by a measly half of a percent… For a total package of a three-year contract at 3.5%, 3%, 3%. After being lectured by the City for weeks about the Union not making any significant movement, the City had the audacity to propose this with a smile on their faces as if to metaphorically smack all of us in the face while laughing.

To make things worse, the City still didn’t have responses to the dozens and dozens of other proposals we have on the table. Remember the ones they illegally said they wouldn’t respond to until the Union gave a counter on wages? Yeah – they still have radio silence on those, even after our wage counterproposal.

Obviously, this is unacceptable. City employees continue to be the adults in the room and are making meaningful proposals aimed at shrinking the 900 City vacancies, increasing recruitment, and improving retention. Full stop.

Meanwhile, here’s a sampling of some of the City’s proposals that you can read with your eyes.

2) They want the ability to change your job description, including adding duties and responsibilities, and have the Union wave our rights to insist on wage increases to respond with new job secs. The City also disgustingly hides behind “addressing racial and equity issues in recruitment” when making this proposal. Shame on them.

4) The City is going after our pension security again by proposing that our own pension funds pay for unlimited administrative costs of corporate fund managers. After years of being told our pensions unfunded liability are the big boogeyman in the closet, the City is proposing to increase it at the cost and security of our pension funds.

Do any of the above items look like serious proposals geared toward ending our endemic staffing shortage and returning public services to an acceptable level?

As we’ve discussed with thousands of you over the last few weeks at various worksite meetings, the City and the Union are still having two different conversations. The Union’s conversation is that we’re in a crisis, and City staff are willing to do whatever it takes to correct the problems plaguing our City.

City leaders, on the other hand, are playing their regular game of pretending there is no problem, overstating what they are doing to try to fix it, and then low-balling the wage proposals to the Union so that at the final hour sometime in early July and likely during mediation, the City’s offer of something like a 4%, 4%, 4% will somehow comparatively seem like a good deal even though it would put us further and further behind of neighboring agencies and continue to erode public services. The City is used to being able to buy off our silence by us agreeing to a just meager enough increase to keep us from standing up and saying enough is enough. The City is used to pushing us City staff around and getting their way at our expense.

We have heard repeatedly from Union members that this time, we aren’t backing down. We’ve been pushed back and back, and this time, we won’t go back any further. We’ve heard that this time, we push back. This time, it’s about our families and our communities. This time – we are standing together.

It’s going to take just that. The bargaining team and members of the Member Action Team can’t do it alone. The City is only going to respect and respond to power and leverage. Well, let’s go and get some.

Sign up to attend one of the rallies scheduled for the week now, and let us show the City that we’re united and standing together.

We wish you and your families a great Memorial Day weekend,


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