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Saturday, March 26, 2011

CAMP Representatives At Bargaining Table Against SEIU

City Hall's Cynical Management Manipulations

Politics in Emeryville can sometimes seem as if it were a microcosm, analogous of the nation where unions are being squeezed and even crushed.  Such is the case with the plight of labor at City Hall.

To the detriment of the taxpayers in town, management at City Hall has been very crafty (and persuasive) in their efforts to protect their pay and benefits, while simultaneously striping the lowly SEIU workers of their already low pay and benefits.  The Tattler reported (December 3rd) how, after failing to secure pay enough raises and pension contributions from the city council in the face of the recent budget cutting, management formed their own phony union (known as CAMP) to assure any compensation raises earned by the legitimate unions would also automatically be showered upon the management.  This turns the traditional paradigm of workers bargaining with management on its head.

Effectively, the management has ensured they have hitched a ride with any pay increases fought and won by the lowest paid workers and all the while they are fighting to cut the pay of their union "brothers".  They're saying the SEIU workers need to sacrifice, not CAMP.  It's cynicism to the nth degree and it's being done at the taxpayers expense.

Stephen Cutty, the field representative for the SEIU workers has called the bizarre spectacle of one union fighting to cut the pay and benefits of another union unethical and we agree.  Certainly to have representatives from the phony management union sitting at the bargaining table with the city one day and then switching hats and representing the city the next day is unseemly at best.

We have to ask who needs to have pay raises and who needs to have pay cuts at City Hall. SEIU workers, already the lowest paid workers in the city can't afford another round of pay cuts and still live in Alameda County.  The average SEIU worker makes $4,462.50 per month with pension contributions of $1,338.70 for a total compensation of $69,614.40 per year.  The cost of living in Alameda County is listed at $68,375 per year for a difference of $103 per month for SEIU workers and their families.  Management wants to squeeze these workers for an additional 7%, pushing them below what it takes to live in Alameda County.  Meanwhile, the average management compensation at City Hall is $138,465.00 per year, including pension contributions, leaving an extra $5,840.00 per month for management employees.

The management at City Hall is exposed as Machiavellian manipulators.  The wrong people are being forced to make the concessions and this sort of disingenuous politics doesn't represent the values of the people of Emeryville.  Management is pushing down compensation for the poorest workers while they keep theirs up and it's all being done in our name.  We call on the management to honor labor and go the bargaining table in good faith and remember the people of Emeryville are the true inheritors of labor relations policy and practice at City Hall.  We're watching.


  1. Management always screws the workers, nothing new here. The only twist worth reporting is the way they "unionized" themselves. You gotta hand it to them, that's pretty crafty as you say.

  2. I have a question. In the above blog/post you say the average SEIU worker makes 53600 in wages plus 1338 towards pension for a TOTAL compensation of just south of 70,000 a year. Does your estimate include health care, vacation, sick leave and holidays? (which are usually counted when calculating TOTAL compensation) Including all of the above would give a better idea of total compensation for comparison sake. Not trying to excuse management or even take sides, just curious about the numbers. Thanks

  3. To the second commenter (above)-
    The SEIU compensation package does NOT include the benefits you mentioned.
    It should be noted that the CAMP managers package I quoted also does not include those benefits. Also, it should be noted that the CAMP benifits you mentioned are a little more generous than the SEIU benifits. The top management not included in CAMP; the City Manager, the City Attorny and the Human Recources Manager has a much more generous benifit package than either SEIU or CAMP in addition to much more pay of course.

  4. This story is disingenuous. You have portrayed CAMP as the same management who is asking for concessions from the SEIU workers. In reality, the only City employees involved in labor negotiations are the City Manager, the City Attorney and the HR/Employee Services Director. All three of these employees are NOT members of CAMP. In reality, the members of CAMP function similar to other City employees except that they manage other employees. They should all be in the same union. It is ridiculous that there are two unions. That is so inefficient. Since the contracts of both CAMP and SEIU are negotiated with the same City management they should be negotiated as one contract under one union.

    It should also be noted that the MEDIAN income in Alameda County is $63,200 according the the California Department of Housing and Community Development. That means over half the people in the County make less than what you claim is the coast of living. I question your number especially since you did not give a source.

  5. To the April 2 commenter-
    You are incorrect that CAMP managers aren't asking for concessions from the SEIU. Melinda Chinn, Secretary/Treasurer for CAMP represented the city at SEIU negotiating meeting # 17 & # 18 on February 2nd & 3rd respectively.

    I agree that CAMP and SEIU should effectively be one union but CAMP isn't really a union, they just exist to get past the friction that was generated by the manager's insistence for a "me-too" clause that the Tattler reported on. Unfortunately CAMP is just a cynical Machiavellian manipulation by management to try to extract more for them while they take from the lowest paid workers.

    The Alameda County cost of living number is from Mr Cutty.

  6. To the April 2nd commenter-
    Please check the 2010 Negotiation Attendance Sheets for SEUI local 1021 unit # 17 & 18 and confirm that Ms Chinn from CAMP represented the city. You may obtain these documents from City Hall. After you verify this, please write back to the Tattler and reflect on this new (to you) information.

  7. re brian donohues first comment above, why not publish the salaries and benefits of okeefe and biddle? the salaries each exceed 200k/year, i believe..... why not publish their performance evals? why not publish how many others competed openly for the two positions over their last several 2 year contract renewals?

    why not publish an expression of interest in a candidate for the council who will make the above kinds of concerns a part of their platform? who will insist that keeping bukowski hurts the chances of the city's being able to say they do business in shall we say a respectable way, not to mention keeping a man on the council with his track of record of violations...

    why not publish info about the failures to find a tenant for the income producing property at the marina?

    i'm just saying...

    walt watman