Posted September 19, 2014

Status of Labor Negotiations

The Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District (District) has been negotiating in good faith with the Union Coalition on a weekly basis since April 2014. The District has offered compromises on numerous issues in an effort to reach an agreement.

A strike would be extremely disruptive to the public. The District believes that a strike can be avoided and hopes that the Coalition returns to the bargaining table so that the parties can continue negotiations

The District received an unfair practice charge filed by the Coalition, which they claim was the basis for this week's labor action. The District denies that it has committed an unfair labor practice or violated the law in any way. In this regard, the labor action is totally unwarranted.

During bargaining, the District has offered a generous compensation package that includes a 3% wage increase in each year of the proposed three-year contract, for a total wage increase of 9%.

The District pays competitive wages. For example, the District's deckhands are the highest paid on San Francisco Bay, currently earning about 10% more than their fellow union members who work on the Blue & Gold and Red & White ferries.

The hourly rate for the District's ironworkers is approximately 10% higher than the hourly rate paid to their fellow union members who work in the private sector on high rise construction in downtown San Francisco.

The District has sought modest increases to the amount that Coalition employees have been contributing to their health benefits. District employees enjoy world class health benefits. The small contributions the District is asking employees to make to maintain these benefits is a mere fraction of the cost the District incurs and would remain less than the contributions made by most private and public employees in the Bay Area.

The District also has proposed implementation of another health care plan option while maintaining all other existing plans. These “Bronze Plans” are less costly to the District than its current plans and would allow the District to offer the same level of benefits at more affordable rates.

Notably, this Bronze Plan is OPTIONAL. No employee would be required to enroll in this Plan if they don't want to. Moreover, an election to enroll in a Bronze Plan would not be permanent – employees could elect to return to one of the current plans during open enrollment.

In light of the fact that (1) our employees earn more than their fellow union members performing the same work for other employers, (2) the District is offering a 9% wage increase, and (3) the new Bronze Plans are optional, we implore the unions to call off their strike.

If there is strike, any questions regarding how long the strike will last should be be directed to the union leadership: Marina Secchitano at (415) 420-1962 or Alex Tonisson at (415) 994-3306.

We will provide additional information on service disruptions, if any, as soon as we learn about them.