THE CITY OF SAN JOSE and two unions representing over 4,500 city employees have reached a tentative agreement, likely averting a strike which was to take place on Thursday.
The International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers Local 21 and Municipal Employees’ Federation-American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 101, the two largest unions in the city, said Tuesday that they had reached a tentative three-year contract with the city that includes a 6 percent wage increase, eight weeks of paid family leave and measures intended to increase recruitment and retention in departments that workers said were critically understaffed.
The agreement was approved by the San Jose City Council on Tuesday during a closed session meeting. David Nerhood, a member of the bargaining team for IFPTE Local 21, said that the deal still must be voted on by union members, which he expects will take place as soon as possible.
Not all were in favor of the deal, including San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan.
“What San Jose needs is a profile of courage, and what they are seeing is politics as usual, and what our working families will likely see because of this is higher taxes and service cuts such as library hours and 911 response times,” said Mahan.
“Our unions did their job. My father was a decades-long member of the union that represented him as a letter-carrier, so I understand where they are coming from. They have a responsibility to organize, advocate for higher pay and represent their members. But our council did not do its job. Our leaders were elected to represent the people, and the needs of the people took a back seat.”
A strike was announced by the unions last week at a press conference in front of San Jose City Hall.
Workers in the city said that many departments were severely understaffed, leading to high turnover as city employees move to other municipalities that offer higher wages.