Tuesday, December 11, 2012

SEIU Ratifies Port of Oakland Contract

Service Employees International Union Local 21, which represents more than 200 port employees in the janitorial, custodial and maintenance fields, has ratified a new contract with the Port of Oakland, weeks after launching a strike.

A no concessions, four-year contract with the port was agreed to by union members during a Dec. 8 vote, according to the union.

The tentative agreement includes a 2.5 percent cost of living increase in 2013 and 2014, a signing bonus of $3,500 for each employee and all economic takeaways withdrawn, among others. It still needs to be approved by Oakland’s Board of Port Commissioners to become binding.

An estimated 500 Local 21 members and union supporters picketed the Port of Oakland Nov. 19, unhappy over the status of contract negotiations, which had dragged on for over a year.

The port has said the labor action caused disruptions at port terminals and negatively impacting truckers and longshore workers trying to move cargo.

But after less than a full day of picketing, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan managed to get both sides back to the bargaining table on Nov. 20 and 10 days later the tentative agreement was reached. The previous contract between the port and SEIU expired June 30, 2011. Although Oakland and the union reached and signed a tentative agreement for a new contract in late March 2012, it was rejected when the rank and file voted in April.