By Robert Haugh
The Santa Clara City Council will hold an emergency special meeting today.
Santa Clara workers who are responsible for field operations and maintenance are threatening to strike. The “Unit 6” workers number about 125 individuals. They are represented by AFSCME Local 4911.
Gary Ferraris, the union’s president, threatened at a City Council meeting two weeks ago that they will strike on May 1. That’s the day before the start of the City’s Annual Cleanup Campaign.
According to union members, they don’t like working on the cleanup effort and would like to get rid of the Cleanup Campaign even though it’s a popular Mission City tradition.
Councilwoman Karen Hardy has pushed for getting rid of the Cleanup Campaign since she was elected four years ago.
The union has publicly complained about their negotiations with former City Manager Deanna Santana. They hope that with new Interim City Manager, Rajeev Batra, they will be able to get rid of the Cleanup Campaign, get a substantial raise and “hero pay,” according to their public statements.
This is a developing story.
I think the CUC weeks are an outstanding asset. Many others from other cities near and wish their cities had such a program. Let’s be fair and give a raise. We’d be paying plenty to truck our stuff to the dumps. Also, side yards are generally very clean of clutter here in SC
In Sunnyvale we used to have these clean-up days. Now residents can request on-call collections twice yearly. It works better. It’s also easier on the workers as they don’t have to deal with mountains of junk all at once. I notice lots of things left out on these clean-up days in Santa Clara that could be recycled.
“hero pay” really?? They’re not medical workers. More like 3rd responders. Fun fact: most of us went to work during the quarantine and we are not heroes – just workers.
All of the Unit 6 workers were hire way after the CUC was implemented so they knew or should have been told it was on the city schedule each year. They might not like it, but it’s part of their job. Much like our public safety officers (FD/PD) that work at Levi’s Stadium.
Unit 6 should receive a pay increase to keep up with inflation.
Well, they do have a point as apparently they haven’t had a pay increase for over a year while, obviously many others have. Plus they’ve another point concerning housing costs. Do any of the 125 local members live in Santa Clara? If so, it’s likely their rents have increased and, if not, they definitely deserve a raise to help pay for increased commute costs. Maybe they can get some money that might have been diverted to the 49ers? From a PR perspective, perhaps they shouldn’t have highlighted “Hero” pay — but they worked through the pandemic like others who did receive such a thing — “Hero pay” is a Federal program passed through the state, so it doesn’t affect the City’s bottom line. And finally, though May 1 is the day before Cleanup Week is scheduled to start, it is also International Workers Day. Plus the Union may not like Cleanup week, but none of their official statements mentions timing. (Besides the best timing is, obviously, at a time when people will be paying attention.) I say 1) Keep cleanup week; 2) Increase pay for the cleanup crew; 3) Give those with the highest salaries less of a raise this year.