Who is Striking?

Guess which South Bay city is about to have its workers strike?  Sunnyvale.  It’s hard to believe given the wealth of the city that the non-public safety employees in Sunnyvale have not received a pay increase in five years, despite the fact that they agreed to generous givebacks during the recession.  Negotiations, which have dragged out for almost two years, have gone from unproductive to antagonistic.

So 98% of the Sunnyvale Employees Association (SEA) voted to strike.  The SEA represents over 450 employees including the operators of the Water Pollution Control Plant, maintenance and operation workers of the City’s storm-sewer systems, civilian support for police and fire operations as well as building inspectors and other functions critical to economic development.

The City’s willingness to participate in a neutral fact-finding process was a hopeful development.  Then the neutral fact-finder sided with the employees, concluding that Sunnyvale “[e]mployees have trailed in comparison to cumulative increases in other municipalities especially those closest to Sunnyvale, and the unit lags behind Consumer Price indices in the San Francisco Bay area over a several-year period.”  The City responded by issuing a press release condemning the neutral fact-finding report and reasserting a position that the neutral fact-finder had rejected.

When negotiations take place by press release it’s a sign that a resolution is not close.  So it’s no wonder that Sunnyvale employees will be striking on May 1.

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