Our City of East Palo Alto members recently ratified a tentative agreement and celebrated a contract win on Oct. 17, 2017. The bargaining team in conjunction with the full membership fought long and hard to achieve historic new benefits and salary increases.
“This is an example of what great teamwork and persistence can accomplish. The City of East Palo Alto is often the forgotten city within the greater Silicon Valley, but this time we stood strong together. Our former chief negotiating member, the late Jim Woods, was an inspiration when we started the long journey of negotiations. Realizing now the power that we have, our members are already gearing up for the next round of bargaining in two years.”
-Janet Nuñez, Bargaining Team Member
Involved in every step of the process through constant communication and membership meetings, members rallied behind the bargaining team and engaged in worksite actions as well as actions at the City Council meetings. With this type of support from the membership, the bargaining team was fully empowered to win better benefits and salary increases nearly double of that of their previous contract.
This new two-year agreement won our members:
- $1 per hour increase in standby-pay
- Nearly double an increase in bilingual pay from $28/ per pay period to $50 per pay period
- Better healthcare benefits: Our members won an increase in healthcare benefits by removing the previous $905 per month maximum employer contribution and moving to a formulary-based system decreasing our members’ portion of the healthcare expenses, some of our members will realize anywhere from $500 per month to close to $1,300 per month in savings alone. We also secured a one-time $525 contribution from the employer to be deposited into a Health Care Savings Account, Deferred Compensation Account, or as a one-time cash payment at the worker’s discretion.
- And of course the BIGGEST WIN: WAGES! With the employer initially coming in at 4% over two years the bargaining team stood up to the city with the full support of our membership and secured a 9% pay increase over two years. This will help our workers make ends meet, as the City of East Palo Alto is one of the lowest paying employers in the Silicon Valley.
The agreement will now go to the City Council for final signature on Nov. 9, 2017.
It was only the power shown through unity that allowed for the bargaining team to achieve such a historic contract win for our members at the City of East Palo Alto. Every single member responded to the call to take action when needed and turned out to City Council meetings to make our voices heard. Our members now realize that a unified membership is power at the worksite and is what it takes to win good benefits, wages, and a secure future!