When the city manager wanted SEIU 521 members to shoulder the whole burden of Arvin’s deficit, the members stood up and demanded fair treatment. And the Arvin City Council listened!
Arvin members were willing to cover one-third of the deficit through layoffs, and negotiated with the city to do just that. But when two other bargaining units, including management, were unwilling to make concessions, the city manager sought to lay off 19 percent of the workers covered by 521.
But the workers stood up for themselves, and they outlined for the council how much the city and its residents would lose. Development Associate Mike Kunz explained how laying him off would cost the city more in the long run. And Elida Navarro, in the building department, showed the council that the layoffs would lead to delays, reduced services and even reduced safety.
“Like Ben Franklin said, ‘We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately,'” Kunz said. “This is what the union’s supposed to be about.”
See coverage of the council meeting in the Bakersfield Californian.