Meet the NCCRC public-sector employees
Campbell employees ratify new agreement with city
With public workers under attack across the country, the NCCRC is involved in negotiations for public employee units throughout Northern California.
While the overwhelming majority of NCCRC members are employed by private-sector contractors, "we have a reputation for good service and skilled negotiation that has brought in a substantial number of public-sector workers," said NCCRC Executive Officer Bob Alvarado. "We all suffer if we let these public servants—whether they're police, fire, teachers or any other public employee—take the rap for the actions of the big financial enterprises that caused the current budget crises. We're committed to defending these workers, and supporting the services they provide."
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When 22 members of Carpenters Local 2236 ratified an agreement with the City of Campbell early last month, they closed the chapter on a process that began in February, months before the city employees' contract expired in June. It took a final 11-hour session on August 4 to seal the deal.
The Carpenters represent two employees in the signals and lighting shop, three in equipment maintenance and seventeen who maintain the city's parks and streets.
"I'm fairly happy," said Dave Mooso, signals and lighting supervisor, who's been on the negotiating committee for the last three contracts. "I think we got as much as we could. We tried to satisfy all the members and still make an agreement with the city."
The new two-year agreement, which was ratified by a vote of 13-0 with 2 abstaining, includes a 2 percent wage increase each year, plus $50 a month toward Health and Welfare this year, and an additional $50 a month next year (for a total of $100 in the second year). The comp-time bank increased from 60 to 75 hours, and the employees agreed to 56 hours of furlough each year.
Improved layoff language was a big win. In the past, the city could lay off union members and keep on the temporary employees. From now on, Campbell has agreed to lay off temporary employees first, and then bargaining unit employees.
Mario Ramos is the vehicle maintenance supervisor for the city garage where they fix "small lawnmowers to John Deeres to chippers and big trucks—whatever comes in that runs on gas or diesel." Ramos has been represented by the Carpenters since 2001, and also served on the negotiating committee.
"Of course, we all have to be grateful we're still working," Ramos said. "And we understood where the city's coming from—and also where the union's coming from. We just wanted to get something fair."
Most of the city employees interviewed agreed the union representation helped ensure employees do as well as they can in the process.
"It's good to be represented," said James Lanser, who's worked with the city of Campbell for 14 years, 10 in street maintenance and now 4 in the parks. "We know times are tough, and cities are having to impose their needs on unions a lot more because of what the times are. I hope it changes, but I think it's going to take awhile."
For now though, Mooso sums it up. "It was the best we could get at this time."