Oakland Bargaining Bulletin 9.29.17


From the Bargaining Table:

The City has moved from their 0% COLAs and we now have hard numbers on the table… but not great numbers, which is still a disappointment for our bargaining team members.

The City came back to our team on Wednesday during bargaining and put a solid 2% COLA proposal, effective the second pay period following City Council’s ratification of this Agreement.There is no retro pay on the table at this time and the reason for the language related to “City Council ratification” is to protect the City if we go to "fact finding" over this contract, a process could well take us into next summer to complete and the City doesn’t want to be on the hook for retro pay.

Additionally, under the City’s proposal we would get another 2% effective the first pay period after July 1, 2018 or the second pay period following the City Council’s ratification of the Agreement, whichever is later (City prepping for fact finding again).

As an incentive, the City is also reducing the one-time settlement incentive that was on the table because they put money into guaranteed raises. The current offer is a one-time settlement incentive payment (which does not get added to base wages, so there will be no compounding and this incentive is not pensionable). To get this incentive, the Agreement must be ratified by October 15, 2017. This payment would be issued within thirty days of contract ratification by the City Council or November 20, 2017, whichever is later. The caveat on this for members is that they must be in paid status on both July 1, 2017 and on the date of the payout, and they must have worked 750 hours in the 2016-2017 fiscal year. So it is conceivable that that long time Oakland employees and members, if they are out on a leave of absence, would not be eligible to receive this incentive.

Our Bargaining Team has not formally responded to this proposal yet.

The City’s proposal was met with more than an hour of non-stop questions from our Bargaining Team. Some of the general themes of the questions included the incredulous “how is it that the City is doing better now than two years ago during our last negotiations and yet we are being offered less.”

The City’s Adam Benson attempted to explain that the City has not found any new money. What they are recommending to the City Council, which he asserted is a risky proposition, is that the City Council revisit their policy on excess Real Estate Transfer Taxes (RETT). Currently, any excess over 14% RETT budgets are moved to one time money. The recommendation is to move that up to 15%, adding another 1% of RETT to ongoing funding that will free up money for the wage increases.

Benson stated that not only is this risky, as RETT can be volatile, but several of the large commercial real estate transactions that have made this fund grow are not anticipated to continue to increase. In fact, the City is anticipating a recession will start in the next 2-3 years and they anticipate that when this new contract expires, the City will be facing a resource gap that could lead to 89 FTEs being reduced. (Note, this does not automatically mean layoffs as often times reductions, if they came to fruition, can be absorbed through attrition and not filling vacancies.)