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“Chop at the top!”
That was the chant echoed by approximately 150 employees of the City of Sacramento, all members of Local 39, as they picketed outside City Hall Plaza.
“Our members are very, very upset,” said Joan Bryant, Director of Public Employees for Local 39. “This is the fifth round of layoffs we’ve had in our bargaining units. We had about 121 of our members who recently received layoff notices, and our members are upset about it."
“I’m here to show my support,” said David Worlds, an employee with the Department of Transportation, recently transferred from the Department of Parks and Recreation. “I think it’s important that we show up and if nothing else let people know that it is important to us.”
In terms of concessions, the City is proposing:
A statement passed out by Local 39 at today’s event addressed the concessions saying the City of Sacramento is top heavy with management. According to the statement, there is one management position for every six workers who provide front line services to the public.
The statement also alleged the City Manager is proposing to lay off workers in special funded departments, such water treatment plant operators and sanitation works in the Department of Utilities, even though they have an approved balanced budget.
Local 39 also took concern with the percentage of general funds spent on public safety, saying the City of Sacramento has for the first time surpassed the 80% figure for public safety expenditures.
Bryant indicated talks have been moving along between the City and Local 39. “I kind of characterize it as the very early stages of bargaining,” said Bryant. “We’ve had nine sessions with our large bargaining unit, and we were at the table today with our plant operations, and tomorrow we will have another session.”
Yet not everyone feels Local 39’s Leadership has put their best foot forward regarding concessions.
“I haven’t heard anything from anybody,” said Worlds. “There’s more questions right now than answers, and I think that’s probably a big part of it.”
“I think if there was more communication, it would help.”
An online petition has been started urging Local 39 Leadership to agree to the City’s proposal.
“I know we have some members who believe we should just come and vote on whatever they want to vote on, and we have a process to follow,” said Bryant. “I know there are some disgruntled members because they thought last year they should have had a vote on something. Last year we met with the City hoping we could arrive at some kind of amicable solution to help with the budget deficit, but the City walked away from the $7 million dollars we offered in concessions.”
“I don’t think they (the members) understand the bargaining process that you should just come and vote. That is not the feeling of the majority of them”.
When asked what he would like to see as a result of the demonstration, Worlds hoped for one thing: