Late Thursday afternoon Santa Clara Field Operations and Maintenance Staff (Unit 6) ratified a new three-year contract with the City, averting a threatened strike.
“It is a very good contract overall,” said Union President Gary Ferraris. “I am sure the Mayor and Council dug deep to get this settled.”
Last February, negotiations between Unit 6 and the City’s negotiating team reached an impasse over what Ferraris called former City Manager Deanna Santana’s “steadfast refusal” to grant the union’s employees salary increases — the only Santa Clara bargaining unit that was asked to accept a 0% raise for a second year.
In addition, the union objected to the City’s demand that its members not assert their federally guaranteed rights to refuse to cross picket lines. This was dropped from the final and approved contract.
The union held a no-confidence vote against Santana in March and made a statement at an early March Council meeting even though Santana had been fired the week before. In April, after negotiations broke down, the union voted 93-6 to strike, although no date was set.
After some back and forth between the City and union, a deal was finally hammered out Thursday afternoon. Workers will receive a $5,000 lump sum payment in 2022, a 5% increase in 2023, and a 4% increase in 2024.
“[City Manager] Rajeev [Batra] worked very hard on this,” said Ferraris. “He was put in a very tough position. But ultimately we ended up with an agreement that everyone’s happy with.”
“I worked with Council to revise our offer and avert a strike,” said Batra. “I’m happy to report we were able to negotiate in good faith. They approved the final offer and there will be no strike. We will continue to provide good services and we really appreciate what these people do for us.”
Santa Clara Union Votes to Strike (April 15, 2022)
Santa Clara Union Blames Dismissed City Manager for Low Morale (March 8, 2022)
City Manager Lawyers Up, Demands COLA Raise (Dec. 14, 2021)