Port of Oakland Starts Impasse Actions After SEIU Union Rejects Tentative Agreement on a New 4-Year Contract

Oakland, Calif., - June 5, 2012 — The Port of Oakland announced today it is initiating impasse actions in an effort to negotiate a new contract with Service Employees International Local 1021. The impasse action enables the Port to move negotiations forward toward a constructive resolution.

The agreement between the union and the Port expired June 30, 2011. During the past 12 months of negotiations, the Port negotiated in good faith with the union, which represents 250 employees in the areas of janitorial, maintenance and security.

In response to concerns raised in negotiations, the Port has altered or withdrawn a number of its proposals to the union leadership. When negotiations began a year ago, the Port advanced 42 proposals. Today, 29 of those issues have been resolved, including the Port’s withdrawal of 25 proposals in response to the concerns of SEIU members.

The Port and SEIU had reached and signed a tentative agreement for a new contract in late March of this year. Unfortunately, SEIU members rejected the tentative agreement when they voted in April.

The tentative agreement between the Port and SEIU included the following elements:

  • Maintenance of current employee wages
  • Continued 100 percent employer-paid healthcare
  • No changes to retiree healthcare for current employees
  • Current employees would pay 5% of employee share of CalPERS retirement plan with the Port paying 3% of the employee contribution and the full 23.6% member share
  • New employees would pay 8% share of CalPERS retirement plan with the Port paying the full 23.6% member share
  • No Cost of Living Adjustment increases but added a COLA re-opener on July 1, 2014
  • Port continues reimbursement of SDI payment for employees

After the union membership’s rejection of the tentative agreement that protected their salaries and benefits, the Port and SEIU remain far apart in resolving a new contract.

Given the increasing likelihood that an agreement would not be reached at the bargaining table, the Board of Port Commissioners overwhelmingly authorized the Port Bargaining Negotiating Team to pursue impasse proceedings.

The Board action was consistent with its guiding framework of sustainability and parity for new labor contracts: long-term sustainability so that the Port can get back on a strong financial footing, and parity with like institutions so that the Port is not at a competitive disadvantage offering unsustainable pay and benefits.

Impasse action has several stages, including mediation, and could take several months to advance toward a new contract. Steps in the impasse proceedings include:

  • Presentation of the Port’s Last, Best and Final Offer
  • Meeting to attempt to resolve outstanding bargaining issues
  • Selection of neutral third-party mediator
  • Mediation session to help parties reach resolution
  • If all of these measures fail, then implementation of Last, Best and Final Offer

“While the Port continues to face significant financial challenges, we remain committed to recruiting and paying for the best talent in the industry,” said Pamela Calloway, President of the Board of Port Commissioners. “But, we simply cannot maintain or grow the workforce unless SEIU leaders join us in adapting to the changing realities facing the Port.”

The Port of Oakland is an important regional driver for economic growth in the Bay Area, creating good paying union jobs that power our local economy and build strong communities. The Port generates more than 73,000 jobs through its Aviation, Maritime, and Commercial Real Estate business operations.

“We are resolved to seek fair and reasonable amendments to the compensation and benefits packages of our employees and, most importantly, put the Port on a track to not only survive, but thrive in the years to come,” said Omar Benjamin, Executive Director of the Port of Oakland. “We ask that all employees, from top management to line workers, share in the costs of the adjustments that are necessary for us to succeed as a whole.”

About the Port of Oakland
The Port of Oakland oversees the Oakland seaport, Oakland International Airport, and 20 miles of waterfront. The Oakland seaport is the fifth busiest container port in the U.S.; Oakland International Airport is the second largest San Francisco Bay Area airport offering over 300 daily passenger and cargo flights; and the Port’s real estate includes commercial developments such as Jack London Square and hundreds of acres of public parks and conservation areas. Together, through Port operations and those of its tenants and users, the Port supports nearly 70,000 jobs in the region and over 800,000 jobs across the United States. The Port of Oakland was established in 1927 and is an independent department of the City of Oakland. Connect with the Port of Oakland and Oakland International Airport through Facebook, or with the Port on Twitter, YouTube, and at www.portofoakland.com.
 

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