Occupy Shows Solidarity with Golden Gate Workers
On December 7, a giant OCCUPY! banner was hung over the Waldo Tunnel in support of the Golden Gate Labor Coalition workers, who have been in a struggle to get a fair contract since April 2011.
Over 30 negotiation sessions have taken place between the Labor Coalition, representing twenty unions including Local 21, and the District since April. The Labor Coalition’s contracts expired on July 1, 2011, after which the District gave non-union employees a 2% wage increase. Historically, the District has never given non-union raises while the Labor Coalition was still bargaining because non-union employees are given the same benefits as Coalition members. The fact is that union workers are being punished for bargaining while the District is rewarding non-union employees.
The District’s Chief Negotiator stated that the District’s “financial needs have been met” with the current Labor Coalition proposals, but as a principle the District is still insisting on forcing employees to pay a percentage of their healthcare premium. Under the District’s plan, families will have to pay much more for their coverage, forcing workers with families to leave the District’s health plan alltogether. On December 16, Local 21 members Davie Wendt and Lynford Edwards spoke to the District’s Board of Directors against the proposed plan and outlined how it would make healthcare unaffordable for their families.