SAN JOSE, Calif., Aug. 18, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — On Friday, August 18, city workers represented by IFPTE Local 21 and MEF-AFSCME Local 101 and community leaders held a press conference to respond to City of San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan’s recent threats of cutting services, which they are calling divisive and dishonest. “Mayor Mahan is threatening to cut vital city services at a time when we have massive reserves and yearly surpluses,” said Rachel Atkins, Happy Hollow Zoo veterinarian. “This is an attack on our unions, and an attack on the most vulnerable residents of San Jose. We will not tolerate it.”
“Mayor Mahan has chosen to ignore the voices of 4,500 hardworking people who run this city,” said Maria Noel Fernandez, Executive Director of Working Partnerships USA. “Instead of doing the work of bringing this city together, he spent his time making divisive attacks on workers in the media, hurling misinformation about their needs, and now, this agreement. Working families, our neighborhoods, need real leadership and real solutions.”
“Every service that the city of San Jose and its residents rely on and depend on so much, they are meaningless without the hardworking people that staff it,” said Assemblymember Alex Lee (Assembly District 24). “And to compete between the two is utter nonsense”
“We call on Mayor Mahan to step up and to earnestly begin the work of moving this city forward in a positive and truthful fashion,” said Jean Cohen (Executive Officer, South Bay Labor Council). “Rather than whining about what is wrong, we need a Mayor who champions all that is possible and powerful for San Jose.”
On Tuesday, August 15, the San Jose City Council voted in Closed Session to approve historic investments in staffing, which is just one step forward in addressing the City’s recruitment and retention crisis. The bargaining teams of both unions endorsed the three-year tentative agreement and have called off the previously scheduled August 15-17 strike.
We know that the City can fund investments in services without negative impacts to residents. The Administration stated that it has set aside $29.3 million in reserves for increases and benefits to the City’s workforce, which is enough to cover the cost of the agreement without cuts. A recently published report by Working Partnerships USA shows that the City is more than capable of affording competitive wage increases for city employees. The City has a long history of budget surpluses driven by general fund expenditure savings, and accurate accounting could create $13–$28 million in additional budget savings in the 2023-2024 adopted budget to be reinvested so that San Jose can recruit and retain committed staff without cutting services to residents.
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SOURCE IFPTE 21