San Fran SEIU new contract demands
Good gig if you can get it.
From fighting Google buses to protesting Ellis Act evictions, San Francisco's 9,475-member Service Employees International Union local has been leading the campaign for a more livable city. Now it's putting its members' own economic agenda front and center at City Hall.
The SEIU's proposed new contract with the city includes calls for:
-- A 15 percent raise over the next three years.
-- A $21-an-hour minimum wage for all city workers.
-- Fully paid health coverage for single workers, 98 percent paid coverage for couples and 85 percent coverage for families.
-- A free clinic just for city workers to go along with the health coverage.
-- A free $50,000 life insurance policy for SEIU workers. Seven other city unions already have free life insurance.
The union has dropped its call for a $76-a-month commuter subsidy and premium pay while off on paid holidays.
The city is countering with a 2.5 percent raise over two years, and no clinic, no free life insurance and a health care package of 93 percent coverage for singles and couples and 83 percent for families.
"This is about income equality," said Larry Bradshaw, vice president of SEIU Local 1021. He noted that when times were lean, workers took cuts. Now with the economy on the upswing, he said, they deserve their share.
SEIU workers employed by the city now earn an average of $33 an hour, plus benefits. More than 1,300 of them - mainly nurses and those in supervisory positions - made more than $100,000 last year.
Bradshaw, however, says SEIU's members average about $51,000 a year. And he notes that the city is employing 3,000 part-timers to whom it doesn't have to pay benefits.
"The city is becoming a Walmart workforce," Bradshaw said.
The mayor's office disagrees.
"City workers are valued and well-compensated, earning significantly more than other Bay Area workers," said mayoral press spokeswoman Christine Falvey.
"And despite the economy doing really well, the city is still facing deficits," Falvey said. "We owe it to the citizens to make sure we don't hurt the bottom line going forward."
Any way you cut it, this is going to be the big fight this year.